Not much time to blog about this today, so this will be short, but another nice move for Cisco by announcing the acquisition of Cariden. This is being seen by most as a great SP SDN play for Cisco, which indeed it is. But remember, Service Providers have complex requirements, usually much more complex than Enterprises. This means Enterprises may only need a portion of the Cariden solution to start dabbling in SDN that is available today, not in 6 months or not in 2 years. So yes, Cariden was acquired for $141M and they do in fact have shipping products today, which is rare in the new and upcoming SDN community. With that said, please note that Cariden had also announced integration with Big Switch’s Floodlight open source controller targeted at Enterprises. With Enterprises potentially only needing a subset of Cariden’s actual feature set, I’m sure we may now see portions of Cariden’s application suite integrated as northbound applications riding on top of Cisco’s ONE SDN controller that is coming sometime next year letting Cisco provide an end to end solution potentially equivalent to the one Google announced last year at ONS.
It was just announced Riverbed will be acquiring OPNET. With the growth of BYOD, Cloud, SDN, and Collaboration just to name a few of today’s hottest trends, it is now more important than ever before to have deeper visibility into both the network and the applications riding over the network. For the mid-size Enterprise in my experience, they usually rely just on SNMP, WMI, and sometimes NetFlow to gain visibility to the network. However, this data on its own is not enough to really know what’s going on throughout the network. From my perspective, network and application performance management (APM) solutions are those that the incumbent network vendors should have been selling for the past decade. These are what’s really needed. How can you make a better network or make applications run smoother if there isn’t direct integration between the network and the applications (via an APM tool)?
Greg Ferro does a nice job here directly stating the networking incumbents should step up with an SDN strategy. I agree 100%. Brad Casemore also chimes in with his thoughts. If you aren’t already reading their blogs, I encourage you to do so because you’re missing out.
Several companies have announced they have OpenFlow-enabled switches, but for these companies, there is still no strategy and no reasoning as to why their switch should be used when deploying an OpenFlow based SDN. Furthermore, they lack a strategy overall looking at the various components of a Software Defined Network. From a hardware standpoint, some of the same features and characteristics (buffers, table sizes, etc.) will still need to be compared as we already do today in traditional networks, but even that, isn’t documented in these announcements. A lot of these vendors think they are on the offensive [vs. Cisco] announcing OpenFlow enabled switches (without a controller), but they really aren’t, in my opinion.
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.