Press: Pica8 Powers SDN-Driven Internet Exchange

France’s TouIX leverages OpenFlow to eliminate broadcast storms.

PALO ALTO, CA – June 29, 2015 – Pica8® Inc., the one-stop source for white box networking, today announced that TouIX, one of France’s leading Internet exchanges, is leveraging Pica8’s network operating system and white box switches to program and optimize its exchange fabric. Software defined networking (SDN) is aimed at giving network operators a fundamentally new way to operate, provision and manage the network. With Pica8’s software, TouIX avoids network outages and congestion caused by broadcast storms, thereby increasing customer satisfaction and uptime. TouIX is the first Internet Exchange Provider in Europe to fully leverage OpenFlow™.

“The Internet exchange environment is a great beachhead for OpenFlow / SDN technology,” said Paul Parker-Johnson, senior analyst with ACG Research. “These providers essentially interlink adjacent providers in a hub and spoke fashion, creating a convenient means for multiple network providers to interconnect their networks. Exchange networks are typically only switched and therefore are prone to broadcast storms. OpenFlow creates a very controlled means to program point to point connections and thereby eliminates any chance of broadcast storms whatsoever.”

“With traditional MAC-based switches, exchanges have restrictions on how to easily scale and avoid broadcast storms,” said Marc Bruyere, researcher at LAAS CNRS. “By default, an OpenFlow driven network does not do anything until you tell it. Traditional switches are routers that use lower-performance CPUs compared to servers, which is good enough to scale routed BGP networks, but not high performance enough to handle all of the MAC lookups. By controlling end-to-end paths using OpenFlow, we know the destination explicitly.”

“Low-cost, top-of-rack switches are ideal for our needs,” Bruyere added, “as the OpenFlow environment is more programmable circuit by circuit, and lack of a broadcast domain reduces what providers call broadcast ARP overhead. TouIX’s OpenFlow design provides the optimal Ethernet fabric for IXP members to do BGP peering in a secure and stable manner. SDN OpenFlow is a fantastic opportunity to develop innovative services like a metropolitan neutral marketplace interconnecting all of the datacenters and IT services for the city of Toulouse.”

The deployment is leveraging Ryu, the NTT Labs open-source controller, with parallel development underway for ON.Labs’ ONOS controller. Additionally, for this installation, developers used Pica8’s REST API as a means to communicate with a Graphical User Interface (GUI), simplifying common operational tasks.

About Pica8, Inc.

Pica8 is the one-stop source for white box networking. Since 2009, Pica8 has pioneered open networking with PicOS™, the first network operating system that enables data center customers to easily integrate Layer-2 / Layer-3 networking and software-defined networking (SDN) using commodity white box switches. PicOS supports an industry-standard CLI for Layer-2 / Layer-3, unmodified Linux, and OpenFlow 1.4. Pica8 makes white box adoption seamless by providing PicOS on both pre-loaded switching hardware or as standalone software on a growing list of compatible bare metal switches. Pica8 is a global company headquartered in Palo Alto, California. For more information, visit or follow @pica8 on Twitter.

About TouSIX

The TouIX is a non-profit neutral Internet eXchange Point organization founded in 2005. TouIX is providing an interconnected network infrastructure in 4 PoPs around Toulouse city and is interconnected with the Paris FranceIX and LyonIX IXPs.


The Laboratory of Analysis and Architecture of Systems (LAAS) is a CNRS research unit associated with the founding members of the Universities of Toulouse: Research activities fall within the domain of Information Sciences and Technologies and address complex systems (artificial and sometimes natural) generally heterogeneous, and at different scales, to devise theories, methodologies and tools for modeling, designing and controlling them. Research, innovation and transfer are tied. The lab has a history of strong relationships with industry and works in a large number of collaborative projects with international, national and regional industries of all size. LAAS was one of the 20 first “Carnot Institutes” labeled in 2006.

[Read full press release at ]