IBM and NEC have partnered to offer OpenFlow-based networking products to joint customers.

OpenFlow is a protocol and API to enable software programmability in switches and routers. It's designed to allow external, software-based control of the network to configure optimal flow and easily add network-wide extensions and additional functionality.

The two companies are jointly marketing a package of IBM's OpenFlow-enabled RackSwitch G8264 10G/40G Ethernet top-of-rack switch and NEC's ProgrammableFlow Controller, PF5240 1G/10G Ethernet Switch, and PF5820 10G/40G Ethernet switch.

The companies said three organisations are currently using their combined OpenFlow system to handle Big Data, global trading, risk analysis, e-commerce and for evaluation purposes. Tervela, a global data transport company, is using the IBM/NEC system to ensure predictable performance of Big Data for business environments such as global trading and e-commerce.

Selerity, a real-time financial information and media company, is using the system to accelerate data delivery to global financial markets. And Stanford University, the originator of OpenFlow, is implementing the IBM/NEC systems as a parallel evaluation network alongside its production backbone network to test out new uses and applications.

The OpenFlow system is available now from both IBM and NEC. Each company will bring in the other on joint sales, IBM says.

The NEC ProgrammableFlow Controller lists for $75,000 (£48,000). NEC's hybrid 1G/10G PF5240 is $25,000 (£16,000), and the new 10G Ethernet PF5820 lists for $30,000 (£19,250). IBM's RackSwitch G8264 also lists for $30,000.