NEC to ship OpenFlow switch for Microsoft Windows Server 8 Hyper-V

Chalk up another big partnership win for Microsoft's Hyper-V from the world of virtual, programmable switching. NEC's OpenFlow-based network fabric, ProgrammableFlow, will be integrated with Windows Server 8 and Hyper-V when Windows Server 8 becomes available, NEC says.

Microsoft has not formally revealed when that will be, although years ago Redmond promised a 2012 delivery date and it previewed developer versions of the Windows 8 client and server operating systems at its BUILD conference earlier this month.

TAKE A PEEK: Windows Server 8 First Looks 

This follows Microsoft's coup, also earlier this month, with Cisco in which Cisco said it was creating a Nexus 1000V Series virtual switch designed to support Windows Server 8's Hyper-V 3.0. 

The NEC announcement is interesting for network professionals interested in exploring a standardized, open source virtual switch like OpenFlow's software-defined networking architecture. NEC's new product, dubbed for now as the ProgrammableFlow vPFS Virtual Switch for Windows Server 8, will make use of new capabilities coming in Windows Server 8. It will offer features like network policy mobility, monitoring, programmability for Hyper-V environments. The virtual switch will include multi-path load balancing functions.

An OpenFlow-based virtual switch offers advantages to both Microsoft and Hyper-V users compared to Cisco's approach, says an NEC spokesperson. "Cisco presented Nexus 1000v which is a proprietary solution. However, NEC is based on OpenFlow which is an open solution, which is an advantage for Microsoft because it will not be locked in to any particular vender. Also, NEC's solution doesn't change any packet format such as adding tags," the spokesperson told Network World.

OpenFlow is an open source protocol for software-defined networking, meaning system builders can modify it and users can program it to define the paths their network traffic should take and under what conditions, regardless of the underlying hardware. OpenFlow puts more network design controls into the hands of the system builders, application developers and network architects compared to traditional switches that use proprietary software and controls.

While NEC wouldn't release pricing specifics, the spokesperson also promised, "NEC's OpenFlow is a fraction of the cost of alternative solutions for typical data center deployments."

Background: Q&A with OpenFlow's inventor

The vPFS Virtual Switch for Windows Server 8 will tap into Hyper-V's Extensible Switch API, too extending a network administrator's custom programming options even further. The virtual network can be "configured and monitored with one central control and network traffic can be visualized from end to end," says NEC.

NEC demonstrated ProgrammableFlow operating in a Windows Server 8 environment at the recent Microsoft BUILD developer conference in Anaheim, Calif.

Julie Bort is the editor of Network World's Microsoft Subnet and Open Source Subnet communities. She writes the Microsoft Update and Source Seeker blogs. Follow Bort on Twitter @Julie188.

Read more about data center in Network World's Data Center section.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags Configuration / maintenancevirtualizationMicrosofthardware systemsData CenterNEC

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Julie Bort

Network World
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Kurt Hegetschweiler

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.

Matthew Stivala

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

The HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer is a great device that fits perfectly into my fast paced and mobile lifestyle. My first impression of the printer itself was how incredibly compact and sleek the device was.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?