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Data Center and Cloud

So, the theme for the day was “Less Unicorns, More Ponies”

I have to admit, I could not attend some of the afternoon sessions--there is a define downside to going to a conference with your boss.

Anyway, we heard from a number of folks (a lot of SPs and academics) that are doing the hard work of trying to do useful real-world things with OpenFlow and SDN.  There were a fair number of successes but also a good number of struggles.  Kudos to the ONS folks for trying to present a balanced view as opposed to hosting a two-day OpenFlow pep rally.  So, sadly, the shine is starting to come off the SDN unicorn, but in the long run, this what needs to happen for the long term health of SDN.

Hands down, my favorite session was Igor Gashinsky from Yahoo! for a number of reasons: 1) it was darn entertaining, 2) I think hyperscale data centers present some the most interesting and demanding environments right now, 3) the use case was interesting, and 4) frankly, it allows me to make a point. :)

It seems that much of the conversation around SDN centers on the southbound conversation--the ability to program the hardware.  While that is certainly useful and interesting, at least as interesting and important is the northbound conversation--the ability to extract interesting information from the infrastructure and make it available to the controllers, applications, tools, etc.  In Igor’s case, he talked about being able to extract info directly out of the switching hardware to facilitate troubleshooting--not an inconsequential task when you have 20K servers and 400K VMs.  Its a good use case but I also think its just scratching at the surface.

I believe its an interesting topic and one of the things that David Ward will dig into a bit further during his session this afternoon.

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