One of the biggest questions so far, it seems, is where the channel fits into the chatter and hype surrounding so-called software-defined networking (SDN). Between classic channel vendors, like Cisco, that are just coming to the table with SDN strategies explaining how partners will play into the plan and hotshot startups, like Big Switch and Nicira, that are planning to work with the channel down the road, this new trend will bear watching for many longtime network-oriented solution providers.
This list is intended as a cross-section -- not an end-all, be-all who's who of the SDN landscape and its galaxy of stakeholders. There are many more well-known vendors who are members of the Open Networking Foundation, and any comprehensive assessment of the SDN landscape would include a much wider sampling than the large networking vendors, network virtualization-focused companies, and just-hatched upstarts listed here. But these are the 25 that caught CRN's eye.