Dave Butler, vice president of sales at Big Switch, says his company is teaming with technology partners that augment its core offering and a handful of integrators. The integrators provide thought leadership, project management skill and the ability to debug deployments.
Butler says most, if not all, SDN projects will eventually involve an integrator. "It's going from zero to 100%. Right now, we have just picked a very few [integrators] and they are tightly coupled to what we do." Big Switch plans, over time, to build a certification process for its partners, Butler adds.
VMware also works with partners. The company has been active in network virtualization for a couple of years and views that technology as an SDN enabler.
VMware and its partners currently focus on network virtualization, rather than full-blown SDN, according to Hatem Naguib, vice president of cloud networking and security for VMware. Naguib said the VMware vCloud Suite enables network virtualization for the VMware technology stack, while Nicira accomplishes the same task for customers using non-VMware hypervisors.
To support the channel, VMware has mapped its solution competencies very tightly toward vCloud Suite capabilities, Naguib says. The company doesn't offer vCloud Suite certification at present, but that doesn't mean it won't happen in the future, he adds.
At ADARA, meanwhile, Johnson says he believes the company's expanding roster of channel allies will find a market that is broadening in terms of geography and customer set. Interest in SDN was initially concentrated in major metropolitan areas on both coasts, but the technology has since gained solid traction in the Midwest and Southeast as well, he says.
As for customers, Johnson reports interest across a range of vertical markets, from financial services to consumer products. "It's not just service providers."
Joe Ambrosole, president of NetConnect, a New York-area network solutions provider and ADARA partner, agrees that the SDN market is moving beyond service providers to enterprises and even mid-sized accounts. "We see more and more people interested," he says. "I think it is only a matter of time until it becomes a technology that everyone is going to be looking at."