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SDN Journal Authors: Pat Romanski, Haim Koshchitzky, Elizabeth White, Patrick Carey, Michael Bushong

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Plexxi Pulse—Save the Date: DemoFriday is July 18

Tune in July 18 at 10 a.m. PST to hear Andre Viera, Plexxi’s product manager, co-present with Iron Mountain on SDNCentral’s DemoFriday.  This demonstration on multi-site datacenter fabrics will illustrate the creation of an optical interconnect between data centers and will showcase how SDN enables the flexibility and balance needed for managing transport and packet traffic between multiple data centers. Sign up here.

There are entire networks that are constructed to operate in conjunction with VLANs. In this week’s PlexxiTube video of the week, Dan Backman identifies the VLANs that Plexxi supports.

Troubleshooting SDN? You’ll Need a Packet Time Machine

SDN is a complex topic to understand and analogies are a helpful tool when explaining its functionality to individuals outside of the networking space. Patrick Hubbard of SearchSDN published an article this week in which he compares troubleshooting SDN to a backyard swimming pool. The analogy here is awesome, and the points he are makes is spot on. One way to think about configuration is as persistent state. Networking is driven by state. Whether that state exists as configuration that is readable and restorable, or whether it exists more ephemerally based on network conditions, is an important detail. The future of networking will require that we grab this state, offload it somewhere for analysis, and have a way of unwinding state to correlate it with events and conditions on the network. This is why I expect analytics to play a more integral role in control efforts (think: OpenDaylight). My colleague Mike Bushong wrote a similar blog post on the topic, using hockey as an analogy in an effort explain the state of software defined networking.

Cisco to Facebook: We’re Ready For You

“The Wedge,” a new switch released by Facebook has fueled discussion that the social media giant is invading Cisco’s coveted territory. There are several problems that are being addressed here, some of which that apply directly to Facebook, including the fact it buys in volume, so CapEx matters, and they actually run one massive, flat, distributed application for which it needs to eke out every bit of performance (i.e. run on bare metal). It makes perfect sense that Facebook would attack that. For what it’s worth, most applications are neither as massive nor dependent on performance as Facebook’s. At least for now.

Cisco’s SDN offering (ACI) is less about pure CapEx. They are addressing a management problem (edge policy). And they want to apply this policy to infrastructure beyond just the network (think: servers via UCS and you would have to guess eventually they get into storage). When people talk about white box solutions and cost, be aware that what they are really talking about is a shift in pricing mix. Rather than monetizing the hardware, people will monetize the software and support/services. Cisco can drop prices if they see the market retreating them based solely on cost.

The real strategic thing that is happening though is a broadening of the competitive landscape. What solutions like The Wedge represent is a shift in architecture away from the 65,000 features that Cisco developed over the last several decades. For years, those have been barriers to entry, which has kept competition low and prices high. If people adopt architectures with fewer features, competition increases, and Cisco has to rely on a different defense. That is the really important part here that gets missed by everyone. Competition breeds innovation and typically keeps pricing in check. Customers win in both regards.

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More Stories By Mat Mathews

Visionary solutions are built by visionary leaders. Plexxi co-founder and Vice President of Product Management Mat Mathews has spent 20 years in the networking industry observing, experimenting and ultimately honing his technology vision. The resulting product — a combination of traditional networking, software-defined networking and photonic switching — represents the best of Mat's career experiences. Prior to Plexxi, Mat held VP of Product Management roles at Arbor Networks and Crossbeam Systems. Mat began his career as a software engineer for Wellfleet Communications, building high speed Frame Relay Switches for the carrier market. Mat holds a Bachelors of Science in Computer Systems Engineering from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.

Cloud Expo Breaking News
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