• 10/04/2012
    11:52 AM
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IBM's New OpenFlow Controller Priced for Deep Pockets

IBM continues its SDN push with a new Programmable Network Controller. The software supports OpenFlow 1.0 and can control up to 100 switches, but pricing seems to target service providers and large enterprises.

What's missing from IBM's OpenFlow product are the applications that target specific functions such as virtualization and security. Recent SDN announcements from Hewlett-Packard and Citrix highlighted applications that address those needs and provide an easy path to solve a problem.

Enterprises that struggle with existing networking limitations but aren't yet ready to embrace emerging technology may need a push to move to adopt OpenFlow and SDN. Targeted applications that solve well-defined problems could provide that push.

The Programmable Network Controller is rather expensive. A single controller and switch license is $92,000. In a redundant environment--and for something this critical a redundant design is required--you'll need a separate license, which comes to $184,000. Each additional switch license is $1,700 for a single- or dual-controller environment. IBM said standard discounts apply, so there's negotiating room. Even so, the price seems to target larger installations, which should come as no surprise. Service and cloud providers that have dynamic networks rely on automated management and configuration, so they have the most to gain from SDN and OpenFlow at this time.

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