Like anyone reading this, we are avid consumers (in my case leech) of information. I put together some quote from people regarding SDN and OpenFlow. Most of the people in the list are intrinsic in helping me shape my own views regarding technology with the outstanding content, ideas and research they generate.
“Think of it as a general language or an instruction set that lets me write a control program for the network rather than having to rewrite all of code on each individual router,” -Scott Shenker, a Berkley
“You don’t have to have an MBA to realize there is a problem. We are still ok but not for very long.” -Stuart Selby,Verizon
“The network is in my way” -James Hamilton, Amazon
When you run a large data center it is cheaper per unit to run a large thing rather than a small thing, unfortunately in networking that’s not really true. -Urs Hoezle, Google
“The really great application we haven’t seen yet (in SDN networks) and it hasn’t been invented yet and it will only be invented if we have these pathways. So, I will conclude with a little plug we write checks from $100,000 to $100,000,000 with 11 billion dollars under management so that’s my email address.” -Greg Papadopoulos former CTO of Sun, now with NEA venture capitals.
The grumpy old man from L3 ivory tower is excited, and not just about OpenFlow. I still can’t believe that I stumbled upon so many interesting or cool technologies or solutions in the last few days. Could be that it’s just vendors adapting to the blogging audience, or there actually might be something fundamentally new coming to light like MPLS (then known as tag switching) was in the late 1990s. -Ivan Pepelnjak ioshints.info
“As anyone who has programmed in both an assembly language and a high‐level language like Python will tell you, abstractions are the key to dealing with complexity. This is why writing a program in Python does not require the programmer to understand all the details of the underlying hardware. Networking is complex because the appropriate abstractions have not yet been defined.” –A Case for Expanding OpenFlow/SDN Deployments On University Campuses
“I feel that the killer app is that you can now add features to your network that you couldn’t get your favorite networking vendor to add for you. If OpenFlow is a unicorn, you get to make it cry whatever tears you’re looking for. That’s it. That’s the killer app, at least in so far as I could see today. It’s not that there’s some specific, well-defined, universally recognized networking problem that OpenFlow solves. It’s more that OpenFlow enables network programmability via a predictable interface. Therefore, if there’s some unique problem you happen to have that traditional networking architectures can’t resolve for you due to technical, practical, or financial limitations, then OpenFlow might just provide a liberating answer.” -Ethan Banks, Packet Pushers
A least for now, as you can see, I have a lot more questions than I have answers or hype. But one thing is for sure: things are changing fast, and it appears software defined networking, in one form or another, is the way forward.
Exciting times ahead. -Brad Hedlund bradhedlund.com
“I’m not a nay-sayer about new technologies. Those who know me well know I can get wrapped up in the next big thing faster than Dug the Dog from Pixar’s ‘Up’ can point out a ‘Squirrel!!’ But every once in a while it does help to pull yourself back from the precipice, look around, and ask what problem can the technology really solve as implemented today? What does the current roadmap look like and what new problems will it let us solve? Are they worth solving? Is the current trajectory we are on the one that will have the best impact for customers tactically and strategically?” –Douglas Gourlay, Network Computing blogger.
“In this business we shouldn’t forget what the purpose of the network is, to serve the needs of the application. And the network stopped doing that a while ago, which is why you guys have gotten so heavily into programmability, the problem is that there is a much better architecture out there now. Here is the biggest problem that you will have to face, why in the heck would Google and Facebook want to launch a new networking technology? They clearly don’t sell switches, and don’t profit directly from this being successful. The only reason why is because they could not deliver the application experience they needed to with the way that networks were being built. Your programmable interfaces were a step in the right direction, they just pale in comparison to what OpenFlow can provide.” -Art Fewell Network World blog (in response to Gourlay)
“But in my wholly unscientific opinion, I bet most companies aren’t going to seriously consider either OpenFlow or SDN for some years–a long enough time for the VC money to dry up and larger vendors to pick up the carcasses along the Internet superhighway. ”-Mike Fratto -Network World Editor
“I can take a collection of devices and I can treat it like a pool of uniform resources that I can provision, repartition on demand and automatically. It is this consumable bit of resources. The properties you want out of resource pools, I like to call the laws of any. Which is you normally want to run any workload, anywhere you want on any hardware and of course you want it not to suck, meaning you want it to be fast and cheap and so on. Networking makes (in data centers) treating things like a generic resource pool difficult, not just treating networking as a resource pool but because it interconnects compute and storage it actually effects the efficiencies of those.” -Martin Casado, Nacira
“It’s going to be interesting to watch, and to see whether networking companies are going to be software companies”, “not everybody finds BGP and OSPF as exciting as I do.” -David Ward, Cisco
“The reason we are in the state we are in today where we have to have huge numbers of people to maintain the networks, is because we don’t have that strong formal foundation and that once that we do, then yes, there will be less of a need for people for making that network work on a day to day basis because it will be more automated but I think there will be far more things that we can do with the network, so there will be a massive increase in people programming the network. So in part, I agree with the sentiment that it will shift, but I think the pie will get so much bigger that the industry will grow as a consequence.” – Nick McKeown, Stanford, Q&A ONS April ‘12
And the Winner is…
OK, gotta pick my favorite and since Ferro wove in beer, cars and girls. His endorsement of the potential is about as good as anyones in the industry in my opinion. Long way to go, but to bet against no change, change in the form of vendor lock or the same old way doesn’t work for me either. I know what I personally see as a dead end road to scale in my my neck of the woods and if it wasn’t for some really smart colleagues I would be updating my resume. We will need to wether the storm of change resistance to change. We build things and die. Complacency should not get in the way of progress.
“The path to OpenFlow is not a four lane highway of joy and freedom with a six pack and a girl in the seat next to you, it’s a bit more complex and a little hard to say how it will work out, but I’d be backing OpenFlow in my view” – Greg Ferro Etherrealmind.com