Welcome!

SDN Journal Authors: Liz McMillan, Elizabeth White, Yeshim Deniz, Pat Romanski, TJ Randall

Related Topics: SDN Journal, Java IoT, Microservices Expo, Containers Expo Blog, @CloudExpo, Cloud Security

SDN Journal: Blog Feed Post

SDN, Network Packaging, and Separation of Control and Forwarding

SDN needs to be about moving from knob-based behavior specification to something that is more automatable

It’s not clear to me whether there is really a conclusion to a technology trend. I suppose that one trend begets another and that morphs into another. So in some sense, discussing the SDN end game is really foolish. It seems most likely that we all stop talking about SDN in another year, maybe two, and the conversation returns to networking. Or data centers, or the WAN, or whatever. And then eventually we talk about IT infrastructure, because it will ultimately become so integrated that calling out isolated elements will seem old-fashioned.

That said, let’s talk about the SDN end game a little…

For many, SDN is about separating the control and forwarding planes. I’ll just point out that these planes have been separate for years in most modern networking equipment. That they might no longer be distributed within the same sheet metal is interesting but not really that game changing. I don’t mean to suggest that there is not value in changing the packaging (a la what Cumulus is doing), but there is nothing inherently good or bad about packaging. The Cumulus value proposition (as it relates to physical equipment costs) is that they will charge less for the software than the big guys have been so far. [Lest this be perceived as a slight, I believe this to be a valuable thing to do. I like what these guys are doing, and how they are doing it is very crafty.]

The big players already skew their R&D costs towards software. That they capture dollars via the hardware simply reflects the buying culture. Imagine that all the major equipment vendors dropped their hardware prices are started charging more for software (which is typically free or discounted to zero in a normal purchase). The difference between Cumulus and the rest would be that Cumulus is charging less for the software.

Part of this is because there is less software there. If we are honest, part of Cisco’s pricing premiums are tied to the 47 thousand features that come with an IOS (or IOS-XE, or CatOS, or whatever) device. So long as those features are important to you, you have to pay the premium because there is only one vendor in the world who has them. Again, this doesn’t make Cisco inherently good or evil – it just means they have priced their product according to demand.

What is really happening with SDN (and with Cumulus in particular) is that people are contemplating for the first time in a very long time new architectures. Those new architectures are somewhat less dependent on the history of networking features. To a large extent, the industry is going on a feature diet. The result is that there are now more commercial options because the foundational feature set is both smaller and different.

If the feature set is smaller, the premium that people are willing to pay is lower. And for companies building from scratch, the effort (read: development cost) is lower. They can charge less and still be whole. When you add in more mature open source options for what have typically been the networking staples (routing protocols, for instance), the barrier to entry for new networking solutions has never been lower.

Oddly enough, the biggest thing standing between customers and lower prices in this case is the customers themselves. Those that are willing to adopt a new Ground Zero for feature completeness will essentially create more choice and flexibility for themselves. They can use that, in part, to get better pricing advantages.

Note that none of this has anything to do with whether the control plane runs on an x86 inside the sheet metal or outside. That’s just a distraction.

So if SDN isn’t about the packaging, what is it about? There are a hundred thousand definitions, but the real pain point being addressed is work flow. The reason the network is so difficult to manage is because it relies on pinpoint precision on a box-by-box basis. Fine-grained control over the policy that drives network behavior is extremely powerful, but that power comes at a cost.

For most people, the choice between power and ease of use was never really a conscious one. We were collectively sold on a set of reference architectures and best practices. In the early days, this was exactly what everyone needed. The problem is that inertia is ridiculously strong, and once the decision to manage through pinpoint, manual control was made, it was never really revisited. Customers demanded more precision (read: configuration knobs or protocol extensions), and this shaped the way the entire industry evolved. The price of admission into any network was a set of features. Only a few companies could provide these, and so the options remained few and the prices stayed high.

How do you combat this dynamic?

SDN needs to be about moving from knob-based behavior specification to something that is more automatable. The only way to be more automation-friendly is to be less device-specific, and that begs for abstraction. Once you abstract out the devices, the edge policy isn’t as tied to the underlying hardware. This means we can more easily separate the control and forwarding planes. Oddly enough, this means that the initial desire for SDN to be about separation is actually somewhat correct.

The problem with starting at that point, though, is that people miss a whole lot of the in-between stuff, and it’s those icky details that will ultimately determine success or failure for people pursuing a new way of doing things.

[Today's fun fact: When Albert Einstein died, his final words died with him. The nurse at his side didn't understand German. <Insert Der Wienerschnitzel joke here>]

The post SDN, network packaging, and separation of control and forwarding appeared first on Plexxi.

Read the original blog entry...

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."

@CloudExpo Stories
The best way to leverage your CloudEXPO | DXWorldEXPO presence as a sponsor and exhibitor is to plan your news announcements around our events. The press covering CloudEXPO | DXWorldEXPO will have access to these releases and will amplify your news announcements. More than two dozen Cloud companies either set deals at our shows or have announced their mergers and acquisitions at CloudEXPO. Product announcements during our show provide your company with the most reach through our targeted audienc...
@DevOpsSummit at Cloud Expo, taking place November 12-13 in New York City, NY, is co-located with 22nd international CloudEXPO | first international DXWorldEXPO and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world.
DXWorldEXPO | CloudEXPO are the world's most influential, independent events where Cloud Computing was coined and where technology buyers and vendors meet to experience and discuss the big picture of Digital Transformation and all of the strategies, tactics, and tools they need to realize their goals. Sponsors of DXWorldEXPO | CloudEXPO benefit from unmatched branding, profile building and lead generation opportunities.
With 10 simultaneous tracks, keynotes, general sessions and targeted breakout classes, @CloudEXPO and DXWorldEXPO are two of the most important technology events of the year. Since its launch over eight years ago, @CloudEXPO and DXWorldEXPO have presented a rock star faculty as well as showcased hundreds of sponsors and exhibitors!
22nd International Cloud Expo, taking place June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and co-located with the 1st DXWorld Expo will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud ...
HyperConvergence came to market with the objective of being simple, flexible and to help drive down operating expenses. It reduced the footprint by bundling the compute/storage/network into one box. This brought a new set of challenges as the HyperConverged vendors are very focused on their own proprietary building blocks. If you want to scale in a certain way, let's say you identified a need for more storage and want to add a device that is not sold by the HyperConverged vendor, forget about it...
In his keynote at 19th Cloud Expo, Sheng Liang, co-founder and CEO of Rancher Labs, discussed the technological advances and new business opportunities created by the rapid adoption of containers. With the success of Amazon Web Services (AWS) and various open source technologies used to build private clouds, cloud computing has become an essential component of IT strategy. However, users continue to face challenges in implementing clouds, as older technologies evolve and newer ones like Docker c...
"MobiDev is a software development company and we do complex, custom software development for everybody from entrepreneurs to large enterprises," explained Alan Winters, U.S. Head of Business Development at MobiDev, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
The next XaaS is CICDaaS. Why? Because CICD saves developers a huge amount of time. CD is an especially great option for projects that require multiple and frequent contributions to be integrated. But… securing CICD best practices is an emerging, essential, yet little understood practice for DevOps teams and their Cloud Service Providers. The only way to get CICD to work in a highly secure environment takes collaboration, patience and persistence. Building CICD in the cloud requires rigorous ar...
"We're focused on how to get some of the attributes that you would expect from an Amazon, Azure, Google, and doing that on-prem. We believe today that you can actually get those types of things done with certain architectures available in the market today," explained Steve Conner, VP of Sales at Cloudistics, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Sanjeev Sharma Joins November 11-13, 2018 @DevOpsSummit at @CloudEXPO New York Faculty. Sanjeev Sharma is an internationally known DevOps and Cloud Transformation thought leader, technology executive, and author. Sanjeev's industry experience includes tenures as CTO, Technical Sales leader, and Cloud Architect leader. As an IBM Distinguished Engineer, Sanjeev is recognized at the highest levels of IBM's core of technical leaders.
As Cybric's Chief Technology Officer, Mike D. Kail is responsible for the strategic vision and technical direction of the platform. Prior to founding Cybric, Mike was Yahoo's CIO and SVP of Infrastructure, where he led the IT and Data Center functions for the company. He has more than 24 years of IT Operations experience with a focus on highly-scalable architectures.
JETRO showcased Japan Digital Transformation Pavilion at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo® at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. The Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) is a non-profit organization that provides business support services to companies expanding to Japan. With the support of JETRO's dedicated staff, clients can incorporate their business; receive visa, immigration, and HR support; find dedicated office space; identify local government subsidies; get...
Dion Hinchcliffe is an internationally recognized digital expert, bestselling book author, frequent keynote speaker, analyst, futurist, and transformation expert based in Washington, DC. He is currently Chief Strategy Officer at the industry-leading digital strategy and online community solutions firm, 7Summits.
Bill Schmarzo, author of "Big Data: Understanding How Data Powers Big Business" and "Big Data MBA: Driving Business Strategies with Data Science," is responsible for setting the strategy and defining the Big Data service offerings and capabilities for EMC Global Services Big Data Practice. As the CTO for the Big Data Practice, he is responsible for working with organizations to help them identify where and how to start their big data journeys. He's written several white papers, is an avid blogge...
DXWorldEXPO LLC announced today that Dez Blanchfield joined the faculty of CloudEXPO's "10-Year Anniversary Event" which will take place on November 11-13, 2018 in New York City. Dez is a strategic leader in business and digital transformation with 25 years of experience in the IT and telecommunications industries developing strategies and implementing business initiatives. He has a breadth of expertise spanning technologies such as cloud computing, big data and analytics, cognitive computing, m...
In past @ThingsExpo presentations, Joseph di Paolantonio has explored how various Internet of Things (IoT) and data management and analytics (DMA) solution spaces will come together as sensor analytics ecosystems. This year, in his session at @ThingsExpo, Joseph di Paolantonio from DataArchon, added the numerous Transportation areas, from autonomous vehicles to “Uber for containers.” While IoT data in any one area of Transportation will have a huge impact in that area, combining sensor analytic...
Bill Schmarzo, author of "Big Data: Understanding How Data Powers Big Business" and "Big Data MBA: Driving Business Strategies with Data Science," is responsible for setting the strategy and defining the Big Data service offerings and capabilities for EMC Global Services Big Data Practice. As the CTO for the Big Data Practice, he is responsible for working with organizations to help them identify where and how to start their big data journeys. He's written several white papers, is an avid blogge...
Charles Araujo is an industry analyst, internationally recognized authority on the Digital Enterprise and author of The Quantum Age of IT: Why Everything You Know About IT is About to Change. As Principal Analyst with Intellyx, he writes, speaks and advises organizations on how to navigate through this time of disruption. He is also the founder of The Institute for Digital Transformation and a sought after keynote speaker. He has been a regular contributor to both InformationWeek and CIO Insight...
Michael Maximilien, better known as max or Dr. Max, is a computer scientist with IBM. At IBM Research Triangle Park, he was a principal engineer for the worldwide industry point-of-sale standard: JavaPOS. At IBM Research, some highlights include pioneering research on semantic Web services, mashups, and cloud computing, and platform-as-a-service. He joined the IBM Cloud Labs in 2014 and works closely with Pivotal Inc., to help make the Cloud Found the best PaaS.
It is of utmost importance for the future success of WebRTC to ensure that interoperability is operational between web browsers and any WebRTC-compliant client. To be guaranteed as operational and effective, interoperability must be tested extensively by establishing WebRTC data and media connections between different web browsers running on different devices and operating systems. In his session at WebRTC Summit at @ThingsExpo, Dr. Alex Gouaillard, CEO and Founder of CoSMo Software, presented ...