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Social network building: with SDN/NFV it's important to have friends

Cyan, which styles itself as a leading provider of SDN and packet-optical solutions, announced that Pica8 with its PicOS "externally programmable switching operating system" was joining the Blue Orbit ecosystem. PicOS runs on commodity 'bare-metal' switches, so this is where SDN meets virtualised functions in the data centre.

Blue Orbit was established in June to demonstrate interoperability between and amongst SDN and NFV solutions "from an array of partners". Members include Accedian, Arista, Boundary, Canonical, Embrane, Overture and Ryu. The idea is to be able to show telcos and other potential customers SDN and NFV components happily up and running and therefore deployable.

According to Cyan's CMO, Joe Cumello, Blue Orbit was founded on the precept that customers were looking at practical deployment - probably using OpenFlow. As there is no getting away from the fact that "there's a lot of complexity" that must be overcome, it was crucial to be able to demo suppliers playing nice and making the components work.

According to Steve Garrison, VP Marketing at Pica8, for customers it just takes time to get started. "They just want to know how you go about doing it [implementing SDN/NFV]. That's what Blue Orbit is about: it says 'here's the steps you take to start off'."

So how fast are things moving?

According to Cyan's Joe, Cyan is talking to 85 customers in total. Obviously the "small guys are going to move faster" while the tier ones will take longer, but he expects that by the end of this year there will be platform announcements; serious trials in 2014 and in late 2014 "we'll start to see major deployments"

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