I mentioned in my previous post Nick McKeown, uber smart Entrepreneur and Professor at Stanford, gave what I thought was the finest presentation of the week at the Open Networking Summit hosted in Santa Clara this week. As I wait to board my plane back to the East coast, here is a more detailed recap of the presentation and what I took away from it…
Here is a quick summary on what I think worked well, what didn't work, and some thoughts on improving ONS next year.
With just a few minutes to spare until the 5:30 start of the evening event and exhibits, I thought I’d give a really quick summary of Day 1 at the Open Networking Summit 2012. Note there were two tutorial sessions today and I attended the one for engineers.
The first thing you noticed by seeing everyone’s badges/name tags with associated company, and was confirmed by Brandon’s presentation in the first slide, was there was and is a truly broad audience here. There are the obvious participants from the big name manufacturers, but also, there are between 1-3 people from at least 60 “other” companies, which is the category I fall into since I’m the only one representing BlueWater from NY/NJ. I also had the pleasure of sitting next to the sole person from Aruba Networks as well. Not sure what that tells you about their SDN strategy.
The term Software Defined Networking (SDN) has seemingly become main stream in the past several months being one of the hotter topics, if not the hottest, for the blog and twitter communities. But, has it really gone main stream? I’m not so sure. In fact, I’ll say it hasn’t for sure. The Open Networking Foundation (ONF) formed last year is largely made up of hyper scale web companies, “traditional” network companies, some niche network/services providers, new SDN companies focused on developing software and hardware, and Goldman Sachs. But, does it really matter who is on the ONF from an end user’s standpoint? Do Enterprise’s really care that companies are spending the $30,000 or so per year to be part of the ONF? Do they [Enterprises] care that Facebook, Google, and Yahoo are exploring OF/SDN and are on the board of directors? Doubt it. They care about their requirements that need that of some fixin’. 99% of the environments out there do not replicate that of these hyper scale web companies. If anything, they are more represented by that of Goldman Sachs, right? While Goldman is likely still in the early stages of their SDN R&D, they are who I’d like to hear from. Several years ago I was on the SE team at Cisco that supported Goldman. I didn’t support them directly, but a peer of mind did. These guys/gals at GS are smart, really smart, and it’s no surprise GS looks at the network from a business perspective. Should they realize the benefit of SDN, it’ll be adopted. If they adopt, others will follow, especially those on Wall Street. Pay attention to them and their ONF efforts.
But….as a week full of SDN will be starting shortly, here are some other thoughts relating to the topic of SDN. Many of which could be controversial =).
I’ve started thinking about the SDN ecosystem and realized there are A LOT of companies making announcements, but really, who is doing what, how do they all fit together, and what products can be purchased today? That’s what I’m hoping to get across in this post.
Before I get started, I’ll say upfront, for some of the companies in the ecosystem, they have clear and concise messaging – exactly what they are working on and what they have planned, which is great for all of us. However, for a quite a few, I don’t know much (maybe you do) about what they are working on, but they are calling themselves next generation SDN companies. Their websites couldn’t be vaguer, but I guess that’s all we can expect from companies in stealth mode. With that said, feel free to comment if you have further information or corrections to make on anything that you see below.