Eclipse Authors: Michael Bushong, Matthew Lobas, Mark R. Hinkle, Shelly Palmer, Noel Wurst

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Plexxi Pulse – Application Abstractions Using OpenDaylight

Today, our own Nils Swart and Derick Winkworth led an SDN Central DemoFriday to illustrate application abstraction using OpenDaylight. Nils and Derick were joined by our partners at Real Status and the team at SDN Central.

In this week’s PlexxiTube video of the week, Dan Backman answers the question “what happens if a switch or Pod Switch Interconnect breaks in a pod?” He digs in to offer different failure scenarios in case of hardware and software outages. Check out our video of the week and a few of my reads in the Plexxi Pulse – enjoy!

Ray le Maistre, editor in chief at Light Reading, weighs in on recent commentary that industry standards and specifications are turning SDN into a “circus” that is a distraction from real progress. In my opinion, I think when we have this conversation it’s important to note that open and standards are not the same. Open is too imprecise a term. When people say open, what they usually mean is either interchangeable or interoperable. It is possible to have both of those before a standard emerges? Conversely, you can have a standard and end up with neither of those (Open EIGRP, anyone)?

Trying to standardize before a technology is mature is like tying a big boat anchor to a bunch of people and telling them to run. It just slows people down. The emphasis has to be on getting code into production, and making the meaningful interfaces open access so others can use them. Note this is different than open source, which implies the whole implementation is out in the wild.

The good thing about OpenDaylight is the emphasis on getting code out. It’s the only way to rapidly iterate around a new technology. To think that anyone can sit around in their smoking jackets and pontificate with precision how a tech will emerge is a bit naive. We need active experimentation.

Sean Michael Kerner, senior editor at Enterprise Networking Planet, asks, if we step out of the bubble, is the noise around SDN real? He points to a recent comment by John Grady, a research manager with IDC’s Security Product’s Group, who said that SDN still remains just a buzzword. In my opinion, the IDC position that SDN is a buzzword is not helpful. That there is buzz is certain. But relegating the term to a buzzword does a disservice to the entire industry. First, there is real work going on in both the vendor and the open source communities. This work is absolutely more than just supporting some marketing hype. Suggesting SDN is only a buzzword is somewhat insulting. But worse, by saying it’s a buzzword, IDC runs the risk of encouraging people not to take it seriously. Those who will make the transition will do much better by being engaged early.

Adopting SDN requires changing skill sets, re-evaluating purchasing criteria, potentially changing organizational structure, determining how to use things like open source, and evaluating new architectures. If you sit on the sideline because it’s still a buzzword, by the time you start, you will be years behind. What a bad way to describe a very real trend.

Arthur Cole, a reporter for Enterprise Networking Planet, comments that the value of SDN lies in not what is it, but what it does. He writes that it isn’t the SDN architecture itself that’s important, but rather the network applications the enterprise chooses to use. Being able to adjust application loads on the fly is interesting, but there is some value to extending the dynamism beyond the management plane and into the actual forwarding. When intelligently distributing applications across a fixed physical infrastructure we will always bump into limitations caused by the underlying physical transport. If that transport has a degree of freedom as well, there are some interesting things that can happen.

Think of this as using the Waze application to move traffic around. However, imagine if an ambulance needed a fast track to get to a patient and there was an ability to temporarily construct a road just for the ambulance. That kind of thing is actually possible using photonic switching and WDM. The future of the network is dynamic – but not just from a control point of view.


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More Stories By Michael Bushong

The best marketing efforts leverage deep technology understanding with a highly-approachable means of communicating. Plexxi's Vice President of Marketing Michael Bushong has acquired these skills having spent 12 years at Juniper Networks where he led product management, product strategy and product marketing organizations for Juniper's flagship operating system, Junos. Michael spent the last several years at Juniper leading their SDN efforts across both service provider and enterprise markets. Prior to Juniper, Michael spent time at database supplier Sybase, and ASIC design tool companies Synopsis and Magma Design Automation. Michael's undergraduate work at the University of California Berkeley in advanced fluid mechanics and heat transfer lend new meaning to the marketing phrase "This isn't rocket science."