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While others talk network virtualization, PLUMgrid offers the virtual network

SDN start-up PLUMgrid this week launched its product, software that runs on x86 servers and is designed to automate data center operations and reduce associated costs.

The PLUMgrid Platform is targeted at enterprises and cloud service providers building private and public cloud data centers. The software enables users to rapidly create, copy and deploy secure multi-tenant virtual networks, the company says.

The software has already been deployed by AT&T.

[USE CASES:What are the killer apps for SDNs?]

PLUMgrid was founded by former Cisco engineers who helped develop the company's Catalyst 6500 and Nexus 7000 switches, two hardware-intensive platforms that require a lot of the manual configuration and activation the PLUMgrid Platform is looking to eliminate.

At the heart of the PLUMgrid Platform is the company's IO Visor technology, which enables the creation of virtual domains that replicate the physical network infrastructure in a virtual, programmable environment without requiring changes to existing hardware. IO Visor is deployed on servers at the edge of the data center and is intended to make the network more adaptable to business needs and allow for the rollout of customized services, PLUMgrid says.

This virtual network infrastructure does not require an SDN controller, which is a segregated and centralized control plane for a software-configurable network and network virtualization.

APIs and an SDK enable integration of Layer 4-7 networking services and cloud orchestration systems from PLUMgrid's ecosystem partners: A10 Networks, Arista Networks, Broadcom, Cavium, Check Point Software Technologies, Citrix, Cumulus Networks, F5 Networks, Ixia, Mellanox Technologies, Palo Alto Networks, Silver Peak and Zerto.

Network services can be added or removed in seconds, without network disruption or downtime, PLUMgrid says. The PLUMgrid Platform also integrates security, operations and maintenance tools, and network visibility and analytics.

Two other use cases for enterprises include the rapid establishment and deconstruction of product test, development and quality assurance networks; and building disaster recovery environments in which virtual domains and virtual workload migration eliminate the need to create identical primary and disaster recovery networks.

Other components of the PLUMgrid Platform include:

  • PLUMgrid Director, which coordinates and manages all platform components and functions.
  • PLUMgrid Network Functions, a library of network services to configure the desired topologies in virtual domains, for example, router, switch, DHCP and NAT.
  • PLUMgrid Console, a graphical user interface to manage, provision, monitor and troubleshoot virtual domains.

The PLUMgrid Platform also includes RESTful APIs to integrate with custom or commercial cloud management systems, such as Openstack Quantum and VMware vCenter.

The PLUMgrid Platform is available now in two editions, Lite and Pro, starting at $1,650 per month.

Both editions are available on a subscription-based pricing with an annual contract.

Jim Duffy has been covering technology for over 25 years, 21 at Network World. He also writes The Cisco Connection blog and can be reached on Twitter @Jim_Duffy.

Read more about lan and wan in Network World's LAN & WAN section.


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