Real Products at Interop Prove There's More to SDN Than Just Talk
NEWS ANALYSIS: Once again there was plenty of talk about Software-Defined Networking at Interop 2015. But this year, vendors were actually showing off products that support SDN.LAS VEGAS—Discussions about software-defined networking at Interop last week ranged from “SDN rules!" to "What is SDN again?" More than once the answer to the question about what separates one SDN solution from another was, "you tell me." It's odd that software-defined networking has been around for so long (at least in Internet time), yet it is still being defined, so to speak. It's been four years since OpenFlow, the first enabler of SDN, was the talk of the 2011 Interop. It's been two years since SDN proponents started to defend themselves against over-hyping the topic. The potential was there. People were asking about it, but where was it all heading? Skip to today and the hype is still there, but there’s much more substance to it. There isn't a major networking vendor that isn't offering or enabling software-defined networking products, but now it feels as if we are back at the beginning. That's because users and vendors alike are just starting to realize the true impact of SDN technology and the changes it will impose on businesses and IT departments.
One big change has already happened. SDN software and SDN-enabled switches are here and maturing, enabling separation of the control and data layers of a network, creating an environment of centralized management and programming. There are several implications for this new paradigm.