Click here to close now.


SDN Journal Authors: Stefan Dietrich, Elizabeth White, Peter Silva, Pat Romanski, Don MacVittie

Blog Feed Post

Where are we in the roll out of SDN?

[This post was originally written for and published on The Rayno Report.]

Software Defined Networking (SDN) has quickly spawned what appears in some respects to be a cottage industry of would-be disruptors to the more traditional networking approaches. With hundreds of millions of dollars in venture capital flowing into the space and dozens of infrastructure companies now vying to be the preeminent SDN vendor, how can anyone — customers or investors — predict who the breakout players will be?

 SDN is a How, Not a What

The most basic thing that potential customers and investors need to understand is that SDN reflects how solutions work, not what their fundamental purpose is. Whether or not something is SDN is almost immaterial to the role that the device or solution plays. Indeed, most common networking problems can be solved with both legacy solutions and their SDN counterparts.

Think about SDN like the type of engine in a car. For most buyers, it’s a detail that gets weighed along with how much cargo space there is and how many cup holders are available. For others, the distinction between a V6 and a V8 is hugely important. But even in the latter case, the type of engine typically serves as a proxy for how much power or acceleration the car has. The real objective is not the engine but what the engine provides.

Generalized Networking

Because the industry is focused on how SDN applies to generalized networking, there has been an over-rotation towards a vague set of use cases. These use cases are broadly applicable, which has the benefit of positioning SDN in lots of places. However, because they lack specificity, they don’t constitute a plan that people can readily say “yes” to.

The result is that there are an awful lot of companies pitching generalized SDN solutions that fit everywhere and nowhere all at once. The fear this evokes on the buy side is one of forklift upgrades or rip-and-replace solutions. The buy-in required to authorize a total change in direction is huge. It goes well beyond just the technical buyer. To displace an entire vendor, you frequently have to get political air cover, sometimes from someone as high up as the CEO.

Small companies won’t generally have the clout to unseat an incumbent in this type of setting, barring a solution that is an order of magnitude faster, cheaper and more scalable.

Specialized Use Cases

If generalized networking isn’t going to be successful, then what will be? SDN deployments (especially those early on) will be focused on very narrow use cases. It might be a specific application (HP and Brocade have focused on Lync, for example) or may be a very specific deployment scenario (such as lighting dark fiber between buildings on a campus). The more specific the use case, the easier it is for potential buyers to say “yes.”

The challenge, of course, is that no one wants to narrow their target addressable market (TAM). When you are a startup seeking funding, claiming your target addressable market consists of all Ethernet switching makes it easy to put up a multi-billion-dollar opportunity. If you narrow that to only those deployments where dark fiber needs to be lit up between data centers, you shrink your TAM.

What is Success?

However, success in the business world is not measured by TAM. Zero percent of a massive TAM is still zero dollars. Startups need to get cash into the company early. Those early deployments are important because they force an iteration of the product and provide success stories and customer references from which to build. Without these wins, it is easier to make continual, even meaningful, progress without ever making any money.

So Who Will Break Out?

The companies that will break away from the SDN peloton are the ones who focus on getting deployments in the real world. A narrow set of use cases trumps a massive TAM in this case even if the former is a lot less sexy.

Customers and investors should ask questions about the overarching value proposition. If the answers are always framed in the general case, it is likely that the solution is aimed at the general networking space. And aiming at something so large is not that different than aiming at nothing at all.

Instead, vendors should ask questions about target customers. Is there a repeatable use case that has traction among multiple customers? Or is every deployment a snowflake, unique to the set of conditions that created it? Breakout success requires scaling the business, and scaling means making things repeatable.

Finally, the standard questions about customer references should be present. This is not because of the specific references so much as what they indicate. Vendors that can push past the analysis paralysis that so many SDN buyers are facing typically have a solution that is scoped narrowly enough to get a “yes.” That, more than anything perhaps, is an early indicator of success.

[Today's fun fact: The highest denomination of US currency is $100,000. If I had one, I would buy something off the dollar menu and ask for change.]

The post Where are we in the roll out of SDN? 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
Just over a week ago I received a long and loud sustained applause for a presentation I delivered at this year’s Cloud Expo in Santa Clara. I was extremely pleased with the turnout and had some very good conversations with many of the attendees. Over the next few days I had many more meaningful conversations and was not only happy with the results but also learned a few new things. Here is everything I learned in those three days distilled into three short points.
DevOps is about increasing efficiency, but nothing is more inefficient than building the same application twice. However, this is a routine occurrence with enterprise applications that need both a rich desktop web interface and strong mobile support. With recent technological advances from Isomorphic Software and others, rich desktop and tuned mobile experiences can now be created with a single codebase – without compromising functionality, performance or usability. In his session at DevOps Su...
As organizations realize the scope of the Internet of Things, gaining key insights from Big Data, through the use of advanced analytics, becomes crucial. However, IoT also creates the need for petabyte scale storage of data from millions of devices. A new type of Storage is required which seamlessly integrates robust data analytics with massive scale. These storage systems will act as “smart systems” provide in-place analytics that speed discovery and enable businesses to quickly derive meaningf...
In his keynote at @ThingsExpo, Chris Matthieu, Director of IoT Engineering at Citrix and co-founder and CTO of Octoblu, focused on building an IoT platform and company. He provided a behind-the-scenes look at Octoblu’s platform, business, and pivots along the way (including the Citrix acquisition of Octoblu).
In his General Session at 17th Cloud Expo, Bruce Swann, Senior Product Marketing Manager for Adobe Campaign, explored the key ingredients of cross-channel marketing in a digital world. Learn how the Adobe Marketing Cloud can help marketers embrace opportunities for personalized, relevant and real-time customer engagement across offline (direct mail, point of sale, call center) and digital (email, website, SMS, mobile apps, social networks, connected objects).
The buzz continues for cloud, data analytics and the Internet of Things (IoT) and their collective impact across all industries. But a new conversation is emerging - how do companies use industry disruption and technology enablers to lead in markets undergoing change, uncertainty and ambiguity? Organizations of all sizes need to evolve and transform, often under massive pressure, as industry lines blur and merge and traditional business models are assaulted and turned upside down. In this new da...
The Internet of Everything is re-shaping technology trends–moving away from “request/response” architecture to an “always-on” Streaming Web where data is in constant motion and secure, reliable communication is an absolute necessity. As more and more THINGS go online, the challenges that developers will need to address will only increase exponentially. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Todd Greene, Founder & CEO of PubNub, exploreed the current state of IoT connectivity and review key trends and t...
Culture is the most important ingredient of DevOps. The challenge for most organizations is defining and communicating a vision of beneficial DevOps culture for their organizations, and then facilitating the changes needed to achieve that. Often this comes down to an ability to provide true leadership. As a CIO, are your direct reports IT managers or are they IT leaders? The hard truth is that many IT managers have risen through the ranks based on their technical skills, not their leadership ab...
Too often with compelling new technologies market participants become overly enamored with that attractiveness of the technology and neglect underlying business drivers. This tendency, what some call the “newest shiny object syndrome” is understandable given that virtually all of us are heavily engaged in technology. But it is also mistaken. Without concrete business cases driving its deployment, IoT, like many other technologies before it, will fade into obscurity.
With all the incredible momentum behind the Internet of Things (IoT) industry, it is easy to forget that not a single CEO wakes up and wonders if “my IoT is broken.” What they wonder is if they are making the right decisions to do all they can to increase revenue, decrease costs, and improve customer experience – effectively the same challenges they have always had in growing their business. The exciting thing about the IoT industry is now these decisions can be better, faster, and smarter. Now ...
The Internet of Things is clearly many things: data collection and analytics, wearables, Smart Grids and Smart Cities, the Industrial Internet, and more. Cool platforms like Arduino, Raspberry Pi, Intel's Galileo and Edison, and a diverse world of sensors are making the IoT a great toy box for developers in all these areas. In this Power Panel at @ThingsExpo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists discussed what things are the most important, which will have the most profound...
In today's enterprise, digital transformation represents organizational change even more so than technology change, as customer preferences and behavior drive end-to-end transformation across lines of business as well as IT. To capitalize on the ubiquitous disruption driving this transformation, companies must be able to innovate at an increasingly rapid pace. Traditional approaches for driving innovation are now woefully inadequate for keeping up with the breadth of disruption and change facin...
In his General Session at DevOps Summit, Asaf Yigal, Co-Founder & VP of Product at, explored the value of Kibana 4 for log analysis and provided a hands-on tutorial on how to set up Kibana 4 and get the most out of Apache log files. He examined three use cases: IT operations, business intelligence, and security and compliance. Asaf Yigal is co-founder and VP of Product at log analytics software company In the past, he was co-founder of social-trading platform Currensee, which...
Growth hacking is common for startups to make unheard-of progress in building their business. Career Hacks can help Geek Girls and those who support them (yes, that's you too, Dad!) to excel in this typically male-dominated world. Get ready to learn the facts: Is there a bias against women in the tech / developer communities? Why are women 50% of the workforce, but hold only 24% of the STEM or IT positions? Some beginnings of what to do about it! In her Day 2 Keynote at 17th Cloud Expo, San...
Discussions of cloud computing have evolved in recent years from a focus on specific types of cloud, to a world of hybrid cloud, and to a world dominated by the APIs that make today's multi-cloud environments and hybrid clouds possible. In this Power Panel at 17th Cloud Expo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists addressed the importance of customers being able to use the specific technologies they need, through environments and ecosystems that expose their APIs to make true ...
Microservices are a very exciting architectural approach that many organizations are looking to as a way to accelerate innovation. Microservices promise to allow teams to move away from monolithic "ball of mud" systems, but the reality is that, in the vast majority of organizations, different projects and technologies will continue to be developed at different speeds. How to handle the dependencies between these disparate systems with different iteration cycles? Consider the "canoncial problem"...
I recently attended and was a speaker at the 4th International Internet of @ThingsExpo at the Santa Clara Convention Center. I also had the opportunity to attend this event last year and I wrote a blog from that show talking about how the “Enterprise Impact of IoT” was a key theme of last year’s show. I was curious to see if the same theme would still resonate 365 days later and what, if any, changes I would see in the content presented.
Apps and devices shouldn't stop working when there's limited or no network connectivity. Learn how to bring data stored in a cloud database to the edge of the network (and back again) whenever an Internet connection is available. In his session at 17th Cloud Expo, Ben Perlmutter, a Sales Engineer with IBM Cloudant, demonstrated techniques for replicating cloud databases with devices in order to build offline-first mobile or Internet of Things (IoT) apps that can provide a better, faster user e...
In recent years, at least 40% of companies using cloud applications have experienced data loss. One of the best prevention against cloud data loss is backing up your cloud data. In his General Session at 17th Cloud Expo, Sam McIntyre, Partner Enablement Specialist at eFolder, presented how organizations can use eFolder Cloudfinder to automate backups of cloud application data. He also demonstrated how easy it is to search and restore cloud application data using Cloudfinder.
With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing IoT strategies, now is the perfect time to attend @ThingsExpo 2016 in New York and Silicon Valley. Learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is as "IoT-Ready" as it can be! Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place Nov 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 17th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty ...