Interop Cloud Experts Debate SDN's Future

Grazed from InformationWeek. Author: David F. Carr.

Software-defined networking (SDN) has been in the "coming soon" category for many years, but an Interop keynote panel discussion on the topic showed room for debate over what it ought to look like when it finally gets here. SDN is too often spoken of as a single event that will wipe away all current networking technologies, when in fact "the underpinnings are already in place," said moderator Eric Hanselman, chief analyst at 451 Research.

The point of SDN is to make networks easy to configure and reconfigure in software rather than hardware, with many more networking functions migrating from being embedded capabilities of a network appliance to being defined in software. Network systems are migrating incrementally in that direction as networks follow the same path toward virtualization as servers and storage, he said. Ultimately, the goal is to provide every data center with the flexibility associated with cloud computing...

Huge data centers operated by the likes of Google and Facebook "already look like what we attribute to SDN," agreed Martin Casado, chief architect for networking at VMware. "The big guys did it first because they're big," he said, not because they're the only ones who would value the flexibility promised by SDN...

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