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IndustryCloud Networking, Open White Box Enterprise Networking
Key people
James Liao, CEO & co-founder
Lin Du, VP of Engineering & co-founder
Niraj Jain, VP of Business
ProductsSoftware -- Linux-based NOS, automated switch configuration

Pica8, Inc. is a computer networking company headquartered in Palo Alto, California, United States. Pica8 is a vendor of open-standards-based operating systems on white box network switches delivering software-defined networking (SDN) solutions for datacenter and cloud computing environments and traditional L2/L3 solutions for large enterprise customers. The company's products include a Linux-based L2/L3 and OpenFlow-supporting network operating system, PICOS, which is shipped as standalone software that can be loaded onto a range of 1/10/40/100 Gigabit Ethernet switches based on commoditized ("white box") switches purchased from original design manufacturers (ODMs).[1]

The company's approach is to combine commodity network hardware (from manufacturers like Accton, Foxconn, Quanta[1]) with Debian Linux, L2/L3 protocol stacks, a full enterprise feature set, OpenFlow controller and Open vSwitch (OVS) to create both a more "democratic" SDN solutions with competitive price compared to conventional embedded switches[2][3][4][5][6] as well as more flexible and scalable disaggregated enterprise white box networking solutions.


The company was founded in 2009.[4][7] It launched a family of OpenFlow-enabled Ethernet switches in August 2009 and has been selling products ever since.[8]

In 2010, Pica8 was selling 48-port gigabit Ethernet and 10-gigabit Ethernet switches at half the price of comparable products of Force10 and Arista Networks. It achieved such result through combining open source software with merchant ASICs (from companies like Broadcom, Marvell, and Intel/Fulcrum) on switches from "white-box vendors".[9]

In July 2011, Pica8 added support for the open source "Indigo" OpenFlow stack from Big Switch Networks to its switches as an alternative stack. In November 2011 it embedded Open vSwitch (OVS), developed by Nicira, into its operation system PicOS to enable more sophisticated network management from inside the switch.[8]

In October 2012 Pica8 raised $6.6m in Series A funding from VantagePoint Capital Partners to support its sales and product development.[8][10] On 10 December 2012 the company exited stealth mode with introduction of SDN reference architecture aimed at cloud providers.[5][11]

By 2013, among about 100 Pica8's customers, including large service providers and hosting companies, were such companies as Baidu, Yahoo! Japan[6][8][12] and NTT Communications.[6]

In December 2013, the company launched the Pica8 SDN Starter Kit, an "out-of-the-box" kit that includes an open-source network controller, a programmable network tap, an open-source network intrusion detection system, and other components meant to give customers a complete SDN solution, which would be quick to implement.[3]

In April 2014 Pica8 claimed to be the first vendor to support the latest version 1.4 of OpenFlow[13][14] and to have over 300 customers globally.[4]

By 2018, Pica8 grew to over 1,000 customers in over 40 countries, announcing a broad push into the enterprise campus and branch office markets in January.



PICOS (formerly known as XorPlus[10][15]) is a network operating system (NOS) that Pica8 has developed based on XORP, an eXtensible Open Router Platform.[15] The operation system works on an unmodified Linux kernel and is extended with a range of network and switching services.[8]

PICOS includes a traditional Layer-2 / Layer-3 switching mode (L2/L3 Mode) and has support for OpenFlow protocol, standardized by the Open Networking Foundation (ONF), through Open vSwitch (OVS). OVS runs as a process on the Debian Linux distribution.[15]

Additionally, PICOS has a hardware abstraction layer that lets it run atop networking ASICs from various switch silicon manufacturers. Therefore, the PICOS operating system can be unaware ("agnostic") about the underlying hardware and not tied to it.[8]


In addition to PICOS, Pica8 offers a second core technology solution called PicaPilot, which was announced in May 2018. PicaPilot is an automated white box switch configuration and management application that runs on Pica8-enabled switches alongside PICOS. Designed as a replacement for legacy Ethernet switch stacks and chassis switches, PicaPilot compresses dozens of access- and aggregation-layer leaf-spine topology switches into a single layer and allows them to be managed as a single logical switch with a single consolidated IP address.


On 10 November 2014 Pica8 announced CrossFlow, a new feature in the PICOS NOS that enables network managers to integrate OpenFlow applications and business policies with existing layer 2/layer 3 networks. Users can run layer 2/layer 3 protocols and OpenFlow protocols on all the switch ports in a network at the same time. OpenFlow can be used for policy-driven applications to bring business logic to the network. The traditional network can optimize packet transport and performance with protocols, such as OSPF, Spanning Tree, and BGP.[16][17]

Awards and recognitions

  • The 10 Coolest Networking Startups Of 2013 according to CRN (2013).[3]
  • AlwaysOn OnDemand Companies to Watch (2013).[18]
  • AlwaysOn OnDemand 100 Top Private Companies (2014).[19]
  • AlwaysOn Global 250 Top Private Companies (2014, along with companies like Acquia, Couchbase, Dropbox, MongoDB).[20]

See also


  1. ^ a b Matsumoto, Craig (17 February 2014). "Pica8 ODM Still Worries About That 'White Box' Stigma". SDNCentral. Retrieved 2014.
  2. ^ Berndtson, Chad (3 January 2013). "13 SDN Startups To Keep An Eye On In 2013". CRN. Retrieved 2014.
  3. ^ a b c Bent, Kristin (13 December 2013). "The 10 Coolest Networking Startups Of 2013". CRN. Retrieved 2014.
  4. ^ a b c "Pica8 Named One of 10 Coolest Networking Startups of 2013 by Computer Reseller News". Reuters. 8 January 2014. Retrieved 2014.
  5. ^ a b Deutscher, Maria (11 December 2012). "Pica8 Debuts Industry First OpenFlow Architecture". SiliconANGLE. Retrieved 2014.
  6. ^ a b c Higginbotham, Stacey (17 February 2012). "Pica8: A startup taking advantage of network commoditization". GigaOM. Retrieved 2014.
  7. ^ Duffy, Jim (10 December 2012). "SDN switch company takes aim at the cloud". NetworkWorld. Retrieved 2014.
  8. ^ a b c d e f Morgan, Timothy Prickett (11 December 2012). "Pica8 bundles up OpenFlow controller, switches for SDN newbies". The Register. Retrieved 2014.
  9. ^ Duffy, Jim (28 October 2010). "Mystery open source switching company claims top-of-rack price edge". NetworkWorld. Retrieved 2014.
  10. ^ a b Chua, Roy (12 December 2012). "Flush with Cash, Pica8 Makes Move into Cloud Environments". SDNCentral. Retrieved 2014.
  11. ^ Burt, Jeffrey (11 December 2012). "Pica8 Rolls Out SDN Reference Architecture for Cloud Providers". eWEEK. Retrieved 2014.
  12. ^ Bort, Julie (19 January 2013). "8 Enterprise Startups Creating A Brand-New, $4 Billion Market". Business Insider. Retrieved 2014.
  13. ^ McGillicuddy, Shamus (1 May 2014). "Pica8 claims to be first vendor to support OpenFlow 1.4". SearchSDN. TechTarget. Retrieved 2014.
  14. ^ Kerravala, Zeus (1 May 2014). "Are these the first OpenFlow 1.4 switches ready for prime time?". NetworkWorld. Retrieved 2014.
  15. ^ a b c "FAQ". Pica8. Archived from the original on 21 February 2015. Retrieved 2014.
  16. ^ Chirgwin, Richard (10 November 2014). "Pica8 adds 'transitional' SDN capabilities". The Register. Retrieved 2015.
  17. ^ Weissberger, Alan (1 December 2014). "Highlights of Open Server Summit: Nov 11-13, 2014 in Santa Clara, CA". viodi.com. Retrieved 2015.
  18. ^ "The 2013 OnDemand 100 Top Private Companies". AlwaysOn. 11 March 2014. Archived from the original on 6 August 2014. Retrieved 2014.
  19. ^ "The 2014 OnDemand 100 Top Private Companies". AlwaysOn. 4 June 2014. Archived from the original on 15 May 2015. Retrieved 2014.
  20. ^ "Announcing the 2014 AlwaysOn Global 250 Top Private Companies". AlwaysOn. 19 July 2014. Archived from the original on 11 February 2015. Retrieved 2014.

External links

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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