Welcome to a Software-defined Spring

Living in New England, the changing of the seasons always seems to bring anticipation of good things to come. Coming off a cold and moderately snowy winter, the spring brings about change, the return of our ability to see our grass, and the ability to go outside without three layers of clothing.

For those covering the networking space, this spring has been one chock full of announcements. In particular, there have been a slew of announcements related to software-defined networking technologies prior to the Open Networking Summit taking place next week in Santa Clara, CA.

It has been hard to keep up the sheer volume of announcements in such a tight timeframe, but here is a quick recap of the more notable ones I saw and are generating interest.

On the network virtualization side of SDN, VMware’s Nicera NSX is no longer just for clouds providers, but also the enterprise. This is a good move as they will be facing increased competition in this space with announcements from IBM, who brought its Distributed Overlay Virtual Ethernet (DOVE) technology that it has been developing since 2008 to the market with its official name Software-defined Networking Virtual Environment or SDN VE. Midokuri, also focused on this area, just announced a big funding round, enabling it to dedicated more resources to the US and other markets. And most recently, Nuage Networks came out of stealth mode. An Alcatel-Lucent company, Nuage has its sights squarely on the network virtualization space and has virtualized layer 2 and layer 3 networking as well as adding policy based automation. Definitely look for the network virtualization side of SDN to be heating up as the summer approaches.

On the controller and physical switch side, Big Switch made a big announcement, bringing network switching hypervisor to market. Extreme, who is a Big Switch partner jumped on board with this and has announced a new switch line to take advantage of the new technology. Juniper made news earlier by scooping up Contrail and laying out its plans for SDN and programmable networking, including its latest platform, the EX9200 with programmable ASIC technology. Cisco made news earlier as well, adjusting its SDN plans by announcing plans to fully support OpenFlow as well as develop a robust controller that supports both OpenFlow and its own onePK API. Arista announced it had developed and contributed a new driver architecture for Quantum (Openstack) that enables concurrent physical and virtual network element provisioning. Definitely moving things along in the right direction as we will need unified control of both the virtual and physical network infrastructure. It will also support OpenFlow and has tested its switches with Big Switch, NEC, and other open source controllers.

These are just some of the more notable ones, and I anticipate there will be plenty more next week at ONS later this spring. This is a really interesting and dynamic space that is rapidly evolving so there will be plenty to discuss.

I am looking forward to attending ONS next week, and meeting up with many of the companies mentioned above as well as a bunch of new entrants to the space who are looking to bring innovative technologies to market.

Topics: IT Infrastructure Networking