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SDN Vendor Comparison Launches

Network Computing has launched its SDN vendor comparison. This package features an online component where IT professionals can get extensive details on vendor products. This includes downloadable spreadsheets of our features matrix, comprising more than 50 data points. The comparison covers SDN controllers, SDN applications, switching hardware and virtual switching software, and more.

At kickoff, spreadsheets are available on Cisco Systems, HP, Juniper Networks, Nuage Networks (an Alcatel-Lucent venture), Extreme Networks, Tail-f Systems, Embrane, Pica8 and Plexxi. We'll add more vendors over time and update our matrix as vendors upgrade their products and debut new features.

We've also got a detailed report that gives an overview of the SDN market, examines emerging architectural approaches to SDN, and provides guidance to help potential customers evaluate products in the SDN category. The report, by Kurt Marko, is available now for download, with registration. The following is an excerpt.

Software-defined networking means different things to different constituencies. For some, it's the networking manifestation of what Marc Andreessen terms "software eating the world." The goal: to replace proprietary management and control technology and overpriced switches and routers with commodity hardware built from merchant silicon under the direction of centralized controllers running on virtual servers, themselves running on commodity hardware.

Others counter that SDN isn't just a low-level packet-pushing technology; it's about creating platforms for applications, configuration management and control that enhance network automation and agility, ultimately lowering operational costs. In this construct, SDN enables what Juniper executive VP Bob Muglia calls network service chains that extend to the top of the network stack, "using software to virtually insert services into the flow of network traffic."

Both are correct -- SDN encompasses low-level switching optimization and high-level application orchestration. In this Network Computing Buyer's Guide, companion to our online comparison, we explore the full spectrum of products and look at how SDN, when married with private clouds, enables tomorrow's fully virtualized data center.

If you're attending Interop in Las Vegas, check out the SDN presentation on Tuesday May 7 from 3:30 to 5:00 p.m. Kurt Marko and Ivan Pepelnjak will discuss some of the findings from our vendor comparison.