It’s not clear to me whether there is really a conclusion to a technology
trend. I suppose that one trend begets another and that morphs into another.
So in some sense, discussing the SDN end game is really foolish. It seems
most likely that we all stop talking about SDN in another year, maybe two,
and the conversation returns to networking. Or data centers, or the WAN, or
whatever. And then eventually we talk about IT infrastructure, because it
will ultimately become so integrated that calling out isolated elements will
That said, let’s talk about the SDN end game a little…
For many, SDN is about separating the control and forwarding planes. I’ll
just point out that these planes have been separate for years in most modern
networking equipment. That they might no longer be distributed within the
same sheet metal is interesting but not really tha... (more)
There is probably never going to be a perfect balance in the industry between
Do-it-yourself (DIY) and Do-it-for-you (DIFY) networking. It seems
exceedingly unlikely that there is a one-size-fits-all type of solution out
there. And so we will invariably end up with a bifurcated market that
requires multiple solutions for its constituents. But if there is not a
perfect balance, which one of these is likely to see the most action?
If you were to base your guess on industry chatter, you would have to
conclude that DIY has the upper hand.
There is a ton of momentum right now with bo... (more)
For many SDN and DevOps enthusiasts, the natural outcome of this wave of
technological change is a highly-automated network that is well-orchestrated
with surrounding systems and applications. One of the prevailing thoughts is
that this level of automation is a well-formed abstraction layer. With the
abstractions in place, the army of network engineers will be unencumbered by
device configuration, and automation will ensure.
Or will it?
First off, let me say that abstraction is absolutely necessary. There is no
doubt that networking will only advance if we can both remove unneces... (more)
Beneath the macro trends (SDN, Big Data, DevOps, Silicon Photonics,
whatever), there are more subtle strategic undercurrents that have been
driving a lot of the activities in the network industry for the past year or
so. One of the most important in terms of competitive landscape, overall
industry monetization, and customer impact is Point of Control. But despite
its role in so much of what is going on, it isn't getting near enough air
For the network, the Point of Control is the point of interaction. That is
to say that operations teams experience the network through thei... (more)
While long-term cost savings will almost certainly be dominated by
operational savings driven by automation, there is still a Year One Problem
around adding additional requisite capacity to existing networks. Most IT
leaders have already gone through the calculations: My network is growing at
X% year over year. And that rate is accelerating by Y% year over year.
The math is actually not that hard. Throw in some data points, and follow the
line that Excel draws for you. Forecast out one more additional year, and
price out the cost of that capacity (typically measured as price-per-p... (more)