On Tap for 2014: SDN in the Campus LAN

  • Mike Fratto
    Mike Fratto

    While SDN in the data center gets most of the attention, there’s going to be significant SDN activity in the campus LAN as well.

  • Campus LAN administrators are already using automation extensively, so making the transition into SDN should be easy.

When SDN is brought up, it’s almost always in the context of the data center, but few are talking about taking SDN to the campus LAN. The data center focus makes sense because there is a considerable enterprise spend on data center acquisitions and networking, which has been holding back many enterprises from seeking additional benefits from further virtualization. And there are technologies in the market now and more coming in 2014 that will address SDN in the data center. Continue reading “On Tap for 2014: SDN in the Campus LAN”

Asking ‘What’s the Point of SDN?’ and the Impact on Adoption

Mike Fratto
Mike Fratto

Summary Bullets:

  • Many enterprises are struggling to find a reason to invest in SDN when what they have in place works well enough.
  • There will not be a killer app for SDN.  Rather, enterprises will adopt SDN as their data centers needs evolve over time.

I recently attended and presented at the SDN and OpenFlow World Congress in Bod Homburg, Germany, and while I was there, I had a chance to talk to some enterprise IT attendees who were investigating SDN for their organizations.  The common question through most of the discussion was: “Why should I use a SDN?”  Luckily, I started my talk with that very question. Continue reading “Asking ‘What’s the Point of SDN?’ and the Impact on Adoption”

Now Is Not the Time to Standardize Northbound SDN APIs

Mike Fratto
Mike Fratto

Summary Bullets:

  • Standards are great for ensuring interoperability when the requirements are well understood.
  • The requirements needed to support applications leveraging SDN are not well understood and standardization will inhibit innovation.

SDN northbound APIs don’t need standardization – at least not at the functional level where command and control semantics live.  Like others, I think SDN is far too early in its development to warrant standardization at a functional level.  SDN would benefit from a standardized architectural approach such as SOAP or REST, which describe different programmatic approaches to interconnecting services, because those are software architectures that are familiar to application developers.  In order to generate and maintain momentum for SDN innovation, there must be as few barriers to application development as possible. Continue reading “Now Is Not the Time to Standardize Northbound SDN APIs”

What’s an SDN? Who Cares? The Question is, Does It Help?

Mike Fratto
Mike Fratto

Summary Bullets:

  • There isn’t any consensus on the definition of SDN, but in the many variations are value propositions that may be useful to you.
  • In the drive to define SDN, established and start-up networking vendors are developing products that can improve your network operations, and that is what is important.

Chalk it up to my extensive studies in philosophy, but I like definitions that are clear, concise, and differentiate one thing from another. At times I can be pedantic and get dragged down in details, but I’m also practical and I know that while theory can be fun and games, at some point, stuff has to get done. What was more important to me when I ran a small data center was getting things done. I didn’t really care about what I called whatever technology I was using. What I cared about, and what the IT professionals that I talk to care about, is how will this new technology make my job better, more efficient, less prone to error, or more cost effective. What matters is not the foundational ideas underpinning a new technology, but the practical applications. Continue reading “What’s an SDN? Who Cares? The Question is, Does It Help?”