Report has IBM looking to exit SDNs

Rumour: IBM has approached at least five vendors to gauge their interest in the unit

IBM is reportedly looking to sell its software defined networking business for $1 billion.

According to the news site Re/code, IBM has approached at least five vendors, including Cisco, Dell, Fujitsu, HP and Juniper, to gauge their interest in the unit, called Software Defined Network for Virtual Environments. The unit includes hardware and software for constructing SDNs, including OpenFlow-based controller and IBM's Distributed Overlay Virtual Ethernet (DOVE) network virtualization software, and blade and top-of-rack switches obtained from the company's 2010 acquisition of BLADE Network Technologies.

IBM did not respond to an inquiry by publication time. Cisco, Dell, Fujitsu, HP and Juniper said they don't comment on rumours.

According to Re/code, IBM deems the SDN unit non-strategic, much like the low-end server business it sold to Lenovo earlier last week for $2.3 billion. IBM recently invested heavily in its Watson cognitive computing unit and SoftLayer cloud computing unit, Re/code reports.

It is unclear what impact, if any, IBM's divestiture of its SDN business will have on the company's participation in the OpenDaylight Project, which it co-founded with Cisco. OpenDaylight is an effort to develop an open source SDN framework, including an SDN controller.

SDN is forecast by several analysts to be a $US3 billion to $US35 billion business by the latter part of this decade.

This would be another exit from networking for IBM. The company sold its Networking Hardware Division to Cisco in 1999.

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