The Case for SD-WAN

M. Fratto

M. Fratto

• Your organization may be in the minority that won’t benefit from SD-WAN products replacing your existing WAN infrastructure, but for everyone else, there’s significant upside to moving to SD-WAN sooner rather than later.

• Algorithms in SD-WAN products rationalize competing demands such as current conditions and your pre-defined requirements to optimize application performance. Let go and get on with your day.

There are too many times when I see a technology and think, “Yeah, I want to buy that.” I’m talking technology, not products, in this note. SD-WAN is one of those technologies that I think has so much upside that no matter what product you pick the result will be far and away better than what you have, in particular for interconnecting remote sites. I’m not entirely convinced of the efficacy of SD-WAN for inter-data center connectivity. The key feature is operational simplicity when compared to how inter-office connectivity is achieved today. Read more of this post

OpenDaylight Is an Exciting Start, but Success Is Not Guaranteed

Mike Fratto

Mike Fratto

Summary Bullets:

  • The OpenDaylight project has a good start on becoming a compelling force in SDN with solid vendor support and lots of energy.
  • There are some hurdles the project needs to get over and some pitfalls that could derail market acceptance.

Is the OpenDaylight project going to take the networking world by storm?  It’s hard to say since the project is barely ten months old and only just shipped its first revision of controller software and applications, called Hydrogen.  However, if the buzz and energy at the sold-out inaugural OpenDaylight Summit are any indication, the chances for its success are very good. Read more of this post

In A Software-Defined Network, Does the CLI Even Matter?

Mike Fratto

Mike Fratto

Summary Bullets:

  • The main benefit from SDN is that managing devices via the CLI will come to an end.
  • Putting the final nail in the CLI coffin will require vendors and administrators to think differently.

Whenever I talk to Arista Networks’ Doug Gourlay, I always ask when the company is going to make a GUI manager for their networking gear.  It’s something of a running joke, because Arista doesn’t have one, preferring to focus on making its products integrate with others; let someone else make a GUI manager.  Other vendors such as Alcatel-Lucent, Avaya, Brocade, Cisco, Dell, Extreme, HP, IBM and Juniper have a similar strategy, which is to make their switch products controllable via APIs and make their network managers capable of much more robust command and control processes. Read more of this post

When Your Switch Vendor is also Your Software Vendor

Mike Fratto

Mike Fratto

Summary Bullets:

  • A software defined data center is nothing without a software defined network. Programmability and API support are more important than speeds and feeds in making a purchasing decision.
  • Enterprises have to assess a networking vendor’s software plans as thoroughly as hardware specifications.

There are three critical features of data center switching that you need to keep in mind on your next refresh: overlay support, programmability, and APIs. Speeds and feeds, table sizes, and other data sheet specs are table stakes, and most data center networking vendors are keeping pace on the important parts. Seriously now, how many of you are going to make a purchase decision based on MAC table size? Do you really need more than 256,000 entries? Hardware is keeping up. Software impacts the integration and interoperation of your switching hardware with the rest of your data center, so much so that it becomes the most critical set of features that can make or break a fully automated data center. Read more of this post

Is Your Network Ready for the Software-Defined Data Center?

Mike Spanbauer

Mike Spanbauer

Summary Bullets:

  • The software-defined data center is a concept that encapsulates networking, virtualization, storage, orchestration, and ultimately, a truly agile framework.
  • Orchestration and manageability must be designed into a solution, rather than being bolted on, to yield the best results.

It became evident during VMworld that the notion of a software-defined data center is central to VMware’s strategy.  However, when you pause a moment and reflect on where the tech industry has been heading for the last five to ten years, it is easy to see elements of this notion accelerating over time, really coming to dominate design principles across the disciplines that constitute the DC (storage, compute, network, and operations platforms) in the last few years.  Software-defined networking (SDN) is perhaps one of the most visible or actively marketed software-defined concepts, but when one realizes that virtualization is just another software-defined concept (compute/machines), it is easy to see the theme encompassing practically every element of DC technology, not to mention platforms and applications already being managed as software elements themselves.  The logical question here is: If all elements within a data center are software-controlled, then what about the technology characteristics of fabrics, SPB-M/Trill, FCoE, and more of the physical network elements?  The answer is that the technology differentiation of the devices which constitute the infrastructure does not go away or diminish with the SD DC, but rather becomes instrumental as the devices themselves must each integrate with upper-level orchestration platforms (i.e., VMware vCenter/vCloud Director).  Read more of this post

What Does VMware Mean to You?

Jerry Caron – Senior Vice President, Analysis

Summary Bullets:                

  • VMware’s VMworld was a hit again, pulling in partners and customers alike
  • The buzz around VMware is about much more than simple virtualization software

I did not attend last week’s VMworld in Las Vegas, hosted of course by VMware, the virtualization software market leader. I wish I had, though. While timing and location prevented my own pilgrimage, Current Analysis was very well represented as were a who’s who of technology-market partners and a robust contingent of IT executives and managers. The reason why this event has become so important for so many is simple, but also profound: Certainly VMware caught lightning in a bottle with its virtualization software, but the company is also leveraging this rather arcane solution as a platform to help solve myriad other IT problems, both with and without partner support. Read more of this post