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SDN Switch Ecosystem Reaches Critical Mass
Simon Stanley | Analyst
SDN is the single most important development in data center networking for a decade.

SDN is a key focus for network equipment providers as it has a significant potential to reduce service provider capex and opex.
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Switching Technology & Components for SDN
Software-defined networking (SDN) is a key focus for network equipment providers as it has a significant potential to reduce service provider capex and opex. SDN is having a major impact on the architecture of data center and other networks. The deployment of SDN requires significant investment and is driving a new ecosystem including switch silicon, embedded software and systems.

Data center traffic continues to grow rapidly. Most high performance servers have 10Gbit/s connections, and a growing number have 40Gbit/s connections. The latest Intel processors based on the Ivy Bridge architecture can support 40Gbit/s packet processing. Ethernet is the dominant networking technology and data center interconnect is moving quickly from 10 Gbit/s to 40 Gbit/s and 100 Gbit/s.

Software developers have introduced enhanced network operating systems and stacks with support for SDN that will run on a wide range of hardware platforms. Several system companies are integrating innovative switching technology and SDN software into switch systems that are specifically targeting the data center market.

SDN is the single most important development in data center networking for a decade. SDN will allow service providers to deploy a flexible network that is implemented on standard server and switch hardware significantly reducing the capital cost. Multiple data centers can be managed using common tools, no matter what the size or location, reducing service provider opex. These benefits must be delivered without compromising network performance and with full interoperability between different SDN-enabled systems and software.

All the companies covered in this report are making significant investments in new switch devices, systems and SDN software. 10Gbit/s serial interfaces are universally used and have enabled vendors to deliver integrated switch devices that are capable of greater than 1Tbit/s switching. The next generation of switch devices will integrate more programmable capabilities and deliver greater performance. With 25/28Gbit/s serial interfaces and silicon phonics these next-generation devices should be able to support over 5 Tbit/s within a single device.

The challenge for the industry is not only developing these next-generation switch devices but also ensuring they interoperate with the rest of the SDN infrastructure. SDN software must support the complex mix of virtual and physical servers, switches and other systems. The winners will be those that can deliver on performance, flexibility and interoperability as the SDN architecture and ecosystem continues to develop.

Switching Technology & Components for SDN details and analyzes switch devices, embedded SDN software and innovative SDN switch systems identifying the key requirements and highlighting the advantages they hold for equipment manufacturers and service providers. The report also reviews vendor strategies and surveys component features, performance and flexibility in this important market.

Sample research data from the report is shown in the excerpts below:
Table of Contents (cci0214_toc.pdf)
SDN was originally defined to simplify the network by separating data plane and control plane functions into different systems. The concept has been extended to include virtual network systems and take advantage of the latest switching technology and multicore processors. The result is a solution that is implemented on a mix of standard servers, low latency Layer 3 switches and application specific platforms. SDN is now implemented using virtual systems that run on virtual platforms that are spread across multiple hardware systems. SDN can therefore also be viewed as a software stack running on virtual platforms.
[click on the image above for the full excerpt]
Companies profiled in this report include: 6Wind S.A.; Arista Networks Inc.; Big Switch Networks Inc.; Broadcom Corp. (Nasdaq: BRCM); Centec Networks (Su Zhou) Co. Ltd.; Compass Electro-Optical Systems (EOS) Ltd.; Intel Corp. (Nasdaq: INTC); IP Infusion, a wholly owned and independently operated subsidiary of Access Co. Ltd. (TYO: 4813); Marvell Technology Group Ltd. (Nasdaq: MRVL); Mellanox Technologies Ltd. (Nasdaq: MLNX); Vello Systems Inc.; and Wind River Systems Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Intel Corp. (Nasdaq: INTC).
Total pages: 17
DECEMBER 2013
DPI Vendors Deliver on Policy Management & Analytics
This report details and analyzes leading DPI, policy management and analytics system vendors, DPI and multicore processor vendors, and DPI and policy management software vendors. The report profiles 20 vendors in this important market, including a review of component architectures, identifying the key features and highlighting the advantages they hold for equipment manufacturers.
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Including table of contents, executive summary, and financial metrics
AUGUST 2013
100G Components User Survey: 2014 Market Outlook
This report analyzes the current and projected use of 100Gbit/s optical modules and PHY semiconductor components by equipment vendors. Our survey responses make it clear that these devices are critical components in many types of networking equipment, from long-haul to the access edge, data center and core of the network.
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Including table of contents, executive summary, and financial metrics
JULY 2013
100G Packet-Optical Chips Drive OTN Deployment
This report details integrated packet-optical devices and OTN framer/mapper devices and technologies, identifying the key requirements and highlighting the advantages they hold for equipment manufacturers. It also surveys component availability, reviewing features, performance and flexibility. The report covers more than 50 devices and nine vendors in this important market.
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Including table of contents, executive summary, and financial metrics
ANALYST
Simon Stanley
Simon writes the Components Insider , covering the latest developments in telecom silicon and subsystems.
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Simon Stanley
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ANALYST
Tim Kridel
Tim writes for both Mobile Networks Insider and Cable Industry Insider. He has previously covered the wireless and cable industries for a number of research firms, including Heavy Reading.
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Tim Kridel
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CONTRIBUTING ANALYST
Simon Sherrington
Simon is an independent consultant who contributes regularly to Heavy Reading Insider. He has 13 years of experience analyzing, reporting, and consulting on technology market trends.
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Simon Sherrington
CONTACT AUTHOR
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