Software-defined networking – Is it really the future of Networking?
Or, is it just a land grab to try and push Cisco out of its current huge dominance of the networking market?
Traditional networks use decentralised switches with data planes and control planes on the same physical hardware. SDN meanwhile is proposing a centralised, managed controller, with open flow data plane switches. And this technology, as vendors would claim has the potential to automate configurations, to improve network efficiency, to reduce the total cost of ownership.
“ But, the question is, can they do it?”, asked NetEvents editorial director Manek Dubash during the recently held NetEvents Asia Pacific in Hong Kong.
“The data centre switch market has an awful lot of inertia in it. There is $6 billion worth of equipment every year, sold into the data centre networking market. Vendors have been consolidating and, at the moment, the last figures that Gartner had is that the top three vendors had 82% of the port shipments,” he said.
“In the service provider market, you have $13 billion dollars worth of equipment sold every year and the top four have 85% of the market. So, in this context, what can the future of software defining network be? Can open flow have enough momentum? Or will these proprietary boxes continue to rule?,” he added.
Responses to the questions posed by Dubash are as follows:
Bruce Bateman, Networking Evangelist APJ, Dell Force10
I don’t think we see this as a land grab, we see this as a change in the community. The community is changing; the customers are asking for more openness, they are asking for more open standards, they are asking for the ability to interact with other products, whereas with HP, Dell also wants to provide you and end to end solution and we believe that the issue here is not just SDN, which controls the network plane, but it also has to do with how you control your storage and your server. So there is a lot more around this than just this one piece. We believe that is the orchestration that we want to look at. It’s not so much a land grab as it is a request from the community to be able to take existing equipment, look at best of breed products and integrating them. And so, we have partnerships with other vendors in our eco system. How do you integrate with them? That I think is what the community is asking for.
Atsushi Iwata, General Manager of Cloud System Research Laboratories, NEC
The current problem in the data centre market is, for example, the [indiscernible]our software is being increased and also some of the variant limitation. Because the data centre want to have a lot of market tenancy for the market and for the customer, but because [indiscernible] to the 4k, but the customer wants to have more than 4k because of the flexibility and control. The current system doesn’t support that.
Mark Pearson, Chief Technologist, Data Center and Core, Advanced Technology Group, Networking, HP
Storage obviously has a very unique service level requirement. Obviously there has to be a loss less nature, low latency, high through put and so portioning a network to carry converged infrastructure, storage, data, it’s very important that we allocate the network to have those attributes and it’s the introduction of this SDN central control plane which provides a great area to deploy this kind of policy