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Will Software Defined Networking Actually Happen?

As a writer for the IT media, conference speaker, and co-host of the Packet Pushers podcast, I cover emerging networking technologies often. The new tech that comes across my screen ranges in value from “I can’t believe that got funded,” to “Why has no one thought of this before?” and everything in between. As a big idea, software defined networking (SDN) seems to generate about that same range of responses from network engineers. Some networkers think that SDN is an extraordinary technology that’s going to change the world of IT. Others see SDN as yet another in a long string of quirky networking ideas that never gained acceptance. In fact, as I’ve read responses to my SDN-related content over the last few years, I believe that more folks are in that latter camp. SDN is a fad. SDN is a buzzword. SDN will go nowhere useful. SDN will eventually fail to have a universal impact.

I understand the cynicism. After all, for a long time, networking had lapsed in an innovation coma, with nothing especially exciting coming along to really shake things up. Yes, Ethernet’s gotten faster. And that BYOD thing got everyone excited a couple of years ago. But for the most part, we design, build, and operate networks the same way today that we did fifteen or more years ago. The core underlying protocols have grown up or had new knobs and levers added, but generally speaking, if a networker of the past fell out of a time warp and into a design project today, it wouldn’t take them too terribly long to catch up. Read More »

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Service Providers Can Utilize Network Virtualization to Advance Human and Economic Development

With a rapidly increasing number of people, devices, machines and sensors coming online across the Internet of Everything (IoE), global service providers will require new capabilities to lead in the delivery of value-added, cloud-based services and applications. Service providers are recognizing the importance of using intelligent, virtualized networks that efficiently deliver new experiences and expand revenue opportunities. While there are many residential, business and mobile solutions that service providers can offer, network virtualization is also crucial for deployment in developing regions.

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The IoE aims to bring the world together through technology and empower those who were once isolated, by transforming the ways they communicate. Access to mobile technology varies and may not be as prevalent in developing regions of the world. However, tablets and mobile phones are beginning to transform how these developing regions obtain and relay information. In fact, mobile phone subscriptions have climbed to nearly 5 billion in the Read More »

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The Napkin Dialogues: Nexus Programmability, Part I

June 30, 2014 at 12:08 pm PST

I know that I take a different approach to learning new things than most people. At least, I know my approach is different than the way people present them. The good news is that when I get something, I really get it. However, when looking at the juggernaut that is “Software-Defined X,” or even “programmability,” I know that I’m still a long, long way away from feeling like I have a handle on it.

When I wrote the previous blog post on some of the key “Open” terms were in programmability, I was overjoyed to find out that there were a few people who also had difficulty getting a grip on this too.

In other words, I’m not alone!

There is still a bewildering amount of information that I still need to learn, however, and it seems to me that if I resonated with a few people about these high-level topics, there are probably a few more who are curious about what lies beneath as well. Fortunately I work for a company (and with a lot of people) who have been willing to help me. Read More »

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Cisco Evolved Programmable Network: Virtualized Services in an EPN World

June 27, 2014 at 12:21 pm PST

nehibBy Greg Nehib, Senior Marketing Manager, Cisco

Part 2 – Virtualized Services in an EPN World?

In part one of this series Gina covered the basic definition of an Evolved Programmable Network or EPN and its linkage to the Cisco Evolved Services Platform (ESP).   Figure 1 offers a quick visual recap.

Figure 1:  Cisco’s Open Network Strategy

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And here’s a link to part one of this blog series if you need to play catch up.

In this segment we Read More »

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Glue Networks Software-Defined WAN Deployed at MWH Global

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Software Defined Networking is at the center of many discussions and debates regarding networking, and right fully so. It means many different things to many different people, and there is a lot of confusion and discrepancy in the term.  You can ask 10 different people what SDN means, and you will get 10 different answers. If you ask me, SDN is today what cloud was five years ago.   I won’t attempt to define what exactly SDN means, but what I will say is that like cloud, the value of SDN will clarify itself over time with powerful use cases and meaningful applications.  Case in point, at the Spring 2014 Open Networking User Group (ONUG) meeting in New York City, the ONUG board of directors proposed nine different use cases that were most likely to be in an RFI/RFQ in the next 12 months.  From these use cases, the IT business leader community at ONUG chose Software Defined WAN as the most critical use case in open networking today.

While the idea of SDN in general is exciting and powerful, most companies are in the planning stages of their SDN and automation vision.  Most believe it will take at least two to three years to architect and realize the benefits of automation across the enterprise.  What’s driving SDN is the promise of the following benefits:

  1. Management: Manual -> Automated Networks
  2. Configuration: Box Centric -> Network Wide
  3. Speed/Agility: Weeks/months -> Minutes
  4. Interoperable: Closed system -> Open System

Currently, there are very few, if any, companies who have completed their SDN strategy.  Partially because it’s quite complex with many permutations, and partially because it’s so important to get it right.  While planning for SDN and automation in the enterprise, there are two key things to consider:

  1. SDN applications must add value to the existing network today
  2. SDN applications must be able to integrate into the customer’s vision for SDN and automation.

There will be a transition between beginning and end state, but any SDN tool being considered must show value on the network as it is currently deployed and allow for integration with future architectures and platforms.  If these considerations can be met, there is a clear reason to begin deployment today.  Companies desire a mature solution in global production that enables value through SD WAN, meeting all of the benefits above, not just the promise of those benefits.   Glue Networks can provide these benefits. Read More »

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