Gearing up for the Spring Show Season and ONS

While many are gearing up for another season of IT shows, those of us in the Northeast as still digging out from a very snowy season. The idea of escaping the polar vortex for San Francisco, Barcelona, or San Jose (RSA, Mobile World Congress, or Open Networking Summit) sounds really good to me. Fortunately, I have the privilege to chair a session at ONS this year along with some great speakers from Tail-f, Intel, Goldman Sachs and ONF, so I will be able to get away - for at least a few days!

ONS is now in its fourth year and Guru and the team have done a great job of remaining focused on putting together some great speakers and content while expanding both the number of attendees and exhibitors. This year will feature demonstrations from Universidad del Pais Vasco, Fraunhofer, Open Source Routing, ON.LAB, Tsinghua University, and the University of Wisconsin. The visionary sponsors include Brocade, Cisco, HP, Huawei, NEC, NTT, and vArmour. Others sponsors include 6wind, Active Broadband Networks, Adara, Alcatel-Lucent, Arista, Atto Research, Big Switch, Centec Networks, Ciena, Cplane Networks, ConteXtream, Cyan, Ericsson, Everts, Google, IBM, infinera, Infoblox, Intel, Ixia, F5, Freescale, KulKloud, Luxoft, Meru, Metaswitch, Microsoft, Nagase, Netronome, OpenDayLight, ONF, Oracle, Pertino, Pluribus, Qosmos, Radware, Tail-f, and Tallac. Startups will include ADI Engineering, Catbird, Corsa, EstiNet, Friesty, NoviFlow, One Convergence, Pica8, and Spark. Not sure what some of the companies listed above do? The show would be a perfect time to stop by and ask them – that’s why they are there.

I am looking forward to attending and hearing about actual open networking experiences, the latest advances from the technology vendors and the most recent developments from the standards bodies. I think 2014 will be an important year for SDN and open networking as organizations move past the hype generated from all the big announcements over the last several years and begin in earnest to evaluate real solutions that can be deployed.

Along those lines, here are a few of things that I will be looking for at the show this year.

  1. Experiences deploying POCs or trials of SDN technology? Regardless of enterprise or service providers focus, it would be great to hear about what is working, what has potential, and what still needs to be cooked for a while. Word on the street is that some of the large financials have been aggressively pursuing open networking, so I am looking forward to Mr. Liste’s presentation (Goldman Sachs).
  2. Last fall there were a number of partner ecosystem announcements from major vendors. I am hoping to hear more about how those are shaping up and when they expect to be able to provide real solutions or at least reference architectures to their customers. According to ESG research, 34% of the enterprises we surveyed were looking to purchase complete solutions from vendors, another 31% stated they use a combination of vendor solutions and DIY efforts. Time for the vendors to work on delivering validated solutions.
  3. New or emerging vendors. Last spring, a number of network virtualization vendors ( IBM, Juniper, NetSocket, Nuage, PlumGrid, etc.) came out of stealth or announced products. It will be interesting to see if there is another groundswell of activity this year focused on a specific technology or space.

A couple of years ago at ONS we joked that the first SDN application would be Angry Packets (Play on Angry Birds). Now three years later there are a number of solutions or apps being created. In fact, there is a session on Sunday specifically to create new applications. I predict someone will write a Flappy Packets app.– it will be hugely successful, network admins will become addicted to it and then it will be suddenly and mysteriously pulled from circulation! Ha! We will have to wait and see if this happens. I look forward to seeing everyone in a couple of weeks in a much warmer climate!

Topics: IT Infrastructure Networking