Forster also told InfoWorld that a significant amount of the SDN ecosystem is currently looking at new ways of introducing network services in a more automated and interactive manner. Big Switch already offers this, along with support for the virtual switches and the physical infrastructure customers have today.
Companies are looking to virtualization and cloud technologies to provide rapid, agile deployment at a much lower cost. But server virtualization also introduced additional complexities with its many connections to external networks and storage resources. The creation and migration of virtual machines also requires on-demand networking and storage resources that can be relocated seamlessly.
Xsigo switches connect to each other and to servers with either InfiniBand or 10Gb Ethernet, although the company says its best performance comes with InfiniBand as the transport vehicle. This is a nice addition because Oracle is a big proponent of InfiniBand connectivity, and the company currently leverages this technology within its Exadata and Exalogic systems.
"The proliferation of virtualized servers in the last few years has made the virtualization of the supporting network connections essential," said John Fowler, Oracle executive vice president of systems. "With Xsigo, customers can reduce the complexity and simplify management of their clouds by delivering compute, storage and network resources that can be dynamically reallocated on-demand."
Clouds deploying Xsigo's products can reduce network infrastructure complexity by more than 70 percent, reduce connectivity costs by more than 50 percent, and lower power consumption by more than 30 percent, according to Oracle.
The combination of its software and hardware provides what Xsigo describes as a "wire-once infrastructure" for virtualized deployments that minimize the need for switches, cards, cables, and related administrative work by as much as 70 percent. Xsigo's network isolation minimizes reliance on VLANs, further reducing complexity.
In the end, from a technology standpoint, Oracle's acquisition of Xsigo should prove to be a very solid purchase for the company, helping to fill a networking void, advance the company's virtualization offering, and provide a good fit with Oracle's Exadata and other clustered solutions that also use InfiniBand technology. Right now, it doesn't sound like Xsigo will be Oracle's answer to SDN, at least not on its own and in its current state.
The acquisition is subject to customary closing conditions and approvals, but the deal is expected to close sometime in the fall of 2012. Until it closes, the two companies will continue to operate independently.
How do you think Oracle will leverage Xsigo? Will it acquire more technologies and morph them to provide a more traditional SDN approach? And what happens to existing Xsigo customers? Will Oracle stay true to its word and allow Xsigo software to continue to work with non-Oracle systems? Or do you see it becoming a proprietary technology?
This article, "Oracle acquires Xsigo to address networking and cloud gaps," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Follow the latest developments in virtualization and networking at InfoWorld.com.