Real Products at Interop Prove Theres More to SDN Than Just Talk

By Scot Petersen  |  Posted 2015-05-04 Print this article Print
Interop SDN 2

For instance, Extreme Networks demonstrated its OpenDaylight-based controller with Microsoft Lync, now known as Skype for Business. The controller automates the network programming to ensure there's enough capacity for a video conference.

Incidentally, HP demonstrated the exact same application, only using its own OpenFlow-based controller. HP also introduced its 5400R zl2 v3 series hardware, which will leverage software to improve network monitoring, security and application performance for campus area networks.

Open source continues to be the font of innovation. The ONF (Open Networking Foundation), which shepherds OpenFlow; ONOS (Open Network Operating System); OCP (Open Compute Project) and OvS (Open vSwitch) are the key enablers of software-defined networking and all have many of the same vendors lining up behind them.

While much of the functionality of the open standards and vendors' offerings are very similar, there are critical differences. HP, having been one of the original developers of OpenFlow, along with Stanford University, offers as close to a pure-play OpenFlow implementation as anyone, with OpenFlow-enabled switches augmented by its own and third-party administrative applications. VMware, with its NSX technology, and Cisco, with ACI (Application Centric Infrastructure) each offer connectivity through their own controllers and through OpenFlow.

The network is disappearing. Not literally, of course, but just as we have seen with data center virtualization (and software-defined storage), software-defined networks will take away much of the current hassles of managing the networks to the point that developers and administrators can treat them as just "there."

Eventually you are not going to see much difference between the offerings. Vendors are supporting open protocols and proprietary lock-in seems like it could be a thing of the past. And with new technologies such as containerization making headway, you may see even more change in the next few years. It's time to get your organization ready.

Scot Petersen is a technology analyst at Ziff Brothers Investments, a private investment firm. Prior to joining Ziff Brothers, Scot was the editorial director, Business Applications & Architecture, at TechTarget. Before that, he was the director, Editorial Operations, at Ziff Davis Enterprise, While at Ziff Davis Media, he was a writer and editor at eWEEK. No investment advice is offered in his blog. All duties are disclaimed. Scot works for a private investment firm, which may at any time invest in companies whose products are discussed in this blog, and no disclosure of securities transactions will be made.



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