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OpenDaylight: The Start of Something Big for SDN

April 8, 2013 at 4:08 am PST

So, after weeks of biting my tongue through what seemed like a constant drip of leaks and rumors, we can finally take the covers off OpenDaylight.  So, lets cover some of the basics:

What?

OpenDaylight is an open source project formed under the Linux Foundation with the mutual goal of furthering the adoption and innovation of Software Defined Networking (SDN) through the creation of a common industry-supported framework--essentially we are building a open source SDN stack.

framework

Who?

This is the cool part--the Project has drawn members from across the industry.  Its actually been pretty interesting working with all these companies towards a common goal over the last few weeks--kinda like an all-star team. This is an open project, so any company can join the project at any time and any developer can get involved.

OpenDaylight Members

When?

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Infrastructure Software: SDN makes network management a first class citizen

April 7, 2013 at 9:41 am PST

Back in May 2012 Mike Fratto predicted in his blog that SDN will be “Reborn in Network Management”. There is a lot of truth to his statement. The words “software defined” in “Software Defined Networking (SDN)” inspired people to rethink the overall control plane architecture of the network making the case for infrastructure software that complements software already embedded in virtual and physical devices, (e.g., the software and protocols running in and between network elements).

We are evolving our treatment of the network.  What once was a discrete set of loosely coupled devices will now be interacted with as a system.  To get there means the network must be represented by an overall system model. Classic network management functions become an integral part of the infrastructure software, and will spawn their own management requirements. SDN makes network management a first class citizen. Effectively we’re past the time when network management was an afterthought, or when network management was an operational silo. The coming integration of network management into the larger network software domain means infrastructure managers will not only manage and operate, but also actively contribute to the overall business proposition of the IT infrastructure. Read More »

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Three Truths about Networking – the Next Chapter

It’s great to see, hear and read various points of view on the evolution of networking.  It’s a hot topic right now, highlighting the fact that the network is at the center of the market transitions driven by Mobile, Cloud, new breeds of Apps and the Internet of Things.  Technical leaders from my team have become road warriors recently, talking to customers, media and investors about the evolution in networking, sometimes referred to as Software Defined Networking (SDN)

There’s a healthy debate in the market about SDN, and with any debate comes confusion. SDN’s initial definition (the logical separation of routing and switching control plane and data plane) has been stretched so far that it has come to mean something different to everyone.

There are plenty of use cases driving the attention that SDN is receiving today.  For instance, Service Providers are looking at trends like Network Functions Virtualization for network elasticity as an opportunity to create greater business value by launching new services quickly.  Traditional enterprises think about SDN as a way to rein in the operational and management complexity of data centers to scale infrastructure.  Academic institutions want open source controllers, so they can economically slice campus networks for both production and research purposes.  At least one thing is crystal clear: one size does not fit all when it comes to deploying SDN.

In some circles SDN has become synonymous with the erosion of value in the underlying networking infrastructure – the hardware and the ASICs. There is an argument purporting that when network intelligence is abstracted into software, hardware and silicon innovation will become less important and even commoditized.

I’m going to take this opportunity to address these misperceptions about the changes taking place in networking with three truths about the next chapter in networking as Cisco sees it.

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SDM: Software Defined Manageability

April 2, 2013 at 2:52 pm PST

Much has been made of the emergence of Software Defined Networking and the programmable network.  At its core, SDN involves opening up network interfaces in order to make the network programmable and allow for the development of applications.  While some of those applications interact directly with the data plane, determining how individual packets are treated, many applications actually involve what can fundamentally be described as management functionality – automation of workflows, reaction to events, closing of control loops.   A popular example concerns orchestration, in which resources are allocated and state modified so that collectively a service is provided – in many ways resembling a reincarnation of service provisioning in a new context and under a new name.

Of course, management applications and management interfaces have been around for a long time, so what is really new and different this time?  Is SDN simply an exciting new label for a tired old concept? Does SDN obviate the need for traditional management? At the core of these questions are the concepts of programmability and manageabilityRead More »

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Impact of Cisco Open Network Environment on SDN

For those of you familiar with the movie “This is Spinal Tap” the volume on SDN has been turned up to 11 for some time. However, too much of the sound is around the technology and not on the benefits to network operators. In fact, Cisco views SDN technology and our Open Network Environment (ONE) as an opportunity for service providers to monetize and optimize their existing assets. In other words – leverage existing investments as much as possible and build SDN and programmatic Cisco ONE capabilities on top of them. Read More »

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