A speaker at a recent Network World event asked the crowd of 450 IT practitioners if they were familiar with software-defined networking (SDN) and only about 10% raised their hands.
* Pertino has launched a network-as-a-service offering that uses a cloud-based SDN to enable you to build networks of people. You log in and create a network and onboard your devices by downloading client code (Windows 7 and 8, and Windows 2008 R2 devices with Mac OS X coming soon), then invite others to join by doing the same. People in your network can securely share files and access remote desktops and other company resources, all without messing with IP addresses, DHCP, DNS, NAT, etc. The service has implications for everything from remote desktop access to file sharing to a way to network people after a disaster. The service is free for up to three users, and beyond that is $10/month/member.
[ MORE: 10 SDN companies to watch
* Pluribus Networks is a 3-year-old company that is still partially in stealth mode, but is talking about its combo switch/server that supports SDN's OpenFlow protocol and lets you approach networking problems in a range of interesting new ways. For one, you can build an SDN without using a separate controller. But with onboard compute smarts and up to 8TB of storage you can get creative, say by integrating security or other services or addressing performance issues by offloading compute tasks, the latter being perfect for demanding financial service environments.
* Glue Networks acknowledges that most SDN work has focused on the data center, but says the WAN will be the next focal point as organizations look to extend the fluidity made possible by virtualization. The company is building what it calls the Gluware WAN Operating System to "build, monitor, maintain and manage SDN WANs," with the main objective of "automating the creation and operation of an application-aware WAN."
* Tail-f Systems says it "creates an abstraction layer between network devices and centralized network control software ... that interfaces directly with network devices from any vendor, as well as OpenFlow-compliant devices." The goal: bring legacy equipment into easier-to-configure/deploy/manage software-controlled networks.
Given the early stage of this emerging market, we can expect a lot more new players to crawl out of the woodwork.