Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Vendor support

Cisco's recent support for the sFlow standard should come as no surprise. The graph trends the rapid growth in vendor support for sFlow over the last decade. Today, in addition to Cisco, virtually every other major vendor ships products with sFlow, including: HP, IBM, Dell, Juniper, Brocade, Arista, Huawei, Hitachi, AlaxalA, NEC, Alcatel-Lucent, Fortinet, D-Link, NETGEAR, Extreme Networks, Allied Telesis, ZTE, ZyXEL and LG-ERICCSON.

Growth would have been even faster but industry consolidation has combined a number of sFlow vendors; 3Com and H3C are now combined with ProCurve in Hewlett-Packard, Blade Network Technologies is now part of IBM and Force10 joins PowerConnect as part of Dell. However, this consolidation of US vendors is more than offset by adoption of the sFlow standard among emerging Asian vendors, including: Huawei, ZTE and Edge-Core Networks. Additionally, the graph doesn't count merchant silicon vendors, including Broadcom, Marvell and Intel, that implement sFlow support in the ASICs used by many of the switch vendors.

The rise in vendor support for sFlow was initially driven adoption of 1G Ethernet and more recent growth has been driven by the accelerating deployment of 10G Ethernet. Looking forward, the growth in number of vendors will slow down - there are very few vendors left that do not support sFlow. However, expect vendors to expand the range of products that support sFlow as new 10G, 40G and 100G Ethernet switches are developed to address increasing demand for bandwidth. Also expect to see increased support for sFlow in wireless networks.

Finally, the sFlow standard provides the end-to-end, multi-vendor visibility needed for effective control of resources in the data center and new technologies like OpenFlow and Software Defined Networking (SDN) are unlocking this potential by allowing networks to automatically adapt to the changing real-time traffic patterns reported by sFlow.

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