Virtualization Technology News and Information
Pica8 Disrupts Data Center Economics by Offering Service Providers Overlay Choice

Pica8, Inc., the software defined networking (SDN) white box leader, today announced that it is the first to support Labeled BGP on bare-metal, white box switches. The new capability as part of Pica8’s newest software release PicOS 2.6 aims to stir up the network overlay discussion with a solution driven by service providers. The capability is fundamental and foundational for service providers that want to leverage existing technologies, while enjoying the dynamic programmability of SDN.

“Service providers have used overlay technologies for decades, and have developed a rich mix of services using BGP and MPLS within their own networks and between their networks and those of their peers. They will naturally prefer to use familiar technology to offer more flexible data center-to-data center and customer-facing VPN services, while taking advantage of white box economics and the flexible traffic handling enabled by SDN within their data centers,” said Paul Parker-Johnson of ACG Research. “Pica8 is leveraging these strong preferences and disrupting network economics by being the first to port Labeled BGP to their white box enabled network OS.”

Many large enterprises are pursuing a VXLAN / VMware model for multi-tenant services, workload mobility and overlay networking within their data centers. But service providers have extensive experience and tools that solve this problem over the wide area network (WAN). Rather than VXLAN, carriers have more experience with MPLS and BGP, and would like to continue using those to establish tunnels inside and between their data centers. Labeled BGP is a signaling mechanism carriers can use to create MPLS paths; but today this function is only available in expensive edge routers from the likes of Cisco and Juniper. This capability in Pica8’s OS, coupled with white box economics, gives carriers a far more cost-effective alternative to deploying this technology.

“We are seeing a real debate in the 'how' of offering end-to-end services inside and between data centers,” said Olivier Vautrin, head of product management at Pica8. “The need is real if you want to deploy hybrid cloud services and to accomplish that, you need a flexible and proven encapsulation technology. We believe MPLS and Labeled BGP offers that opportunity and the experience in the market is there. Once MPLS is used in the data center, complex stitching technologies between data center and WAN encapsulations are not needed anymore. This is disrupting traditional data center edge devices by adding this functionality into our hardware-agnostic white box switching OS.”

PicOS is available as a free download in a trial version, compatible with a growing list of white box switches ( To download PicOS 2.6 click here (

Published Tuesday, April 21, 2015 12:31 PM by David Marshall
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