|Software-Defined Network Architecture
Source: Open Networking Foundation
Software Defined Networking (SDN) has been more disruptive—and potentially transformative—than one would have liked and hoped it to be.
The pace at which SDN has developed and matured has surprised many. While initial works on SDN were academic pursuits started at US Berkeley and Stanford University around 2008, the concept was embraced by some of the industry behemoths in the form of Open Networking Foundation (ONF) founded in March 2011. The founding members included telcos Deutsche Telekom and Verizon; Internet companies Facebook, Google and Yahoo!, and software giant Microsoft. The ONF board members also include NTT Communications and Goldman Sachs.
No wonder, the who’s who of networking—whether enterprise or carrier—is today a member of the foundation. The list includes not just Cisco, Juniper, Ciena, HP or Netgear but also Ericsson, NSN, Alcatel-Lucent, Samsung and ZTE.
This is indicative of the potential that SDN would hold for not just the enterprises but also the telcos.
Vendors, such as HP, obviously view SDN as a means to break into some of the enterprise networking bastions held by the likes of Cisco. Cisco on its part, has been slow but not too late to recognize and embrace the paradigm shift being caused by SDN.
The ONF members list, however, brings up a notable fact—that, telcos are grossly underrepresented at ONF, and so are the internet companies, except the big three that were also among its founders. Telcos’ absence may be seen as counterintuitive, particularly in view of their ongoing intent and quest to grow their enterprise businesses, where SDN-enabled network based service providers will have an increasingly important role to play.
Incidentally (and it is not insignificant), at least two leading Indian companies—Tata Communications and Wipro—are members at ONF. Both these companies are also known to have strong focus on the enterprise segment.
While almost every networking gear maker worth its name seems to be have an SDN- or OpenFlow-enabled offering in place, how about picking up the three major players and taking a peek into some of the latest SDN stuff that the biggies are trying to talk the users into.
So let’s discuss the SDN strategies of majors like Cisco, HP, Juniper and Ericsson:
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