Visualizing Openflow/SDN flow – Big Switch SDN flows in Hyperglance – YouTube

Here is an example of an SDN Application using the Big Switch OpenFlow controller to provide flow monitoring of your network. Stace Hipperson from Real Status has  linked their HyperGlance 3D visualisation tool to capture flow data and display it in an quite useful way. Watch the video and consider what this means for troubleshooting a path […]


Software Defined Networking & OpenFlow – So Far and So Future

Over the weekend I published the latest Packet Pushers show about Software Defined Networking in the Priority Queue feed which focussed on Cisco and how you can implement SDN in an EXISTING network with some of key people from Cisco.

As I was editing the show I realised that the first time we discussed OpenFlow was in May 2011 on Show 40 – Openflow – Upending the Network Industry – a show where we identified that the future of networking was going to change. I can remember clearly during the discussion with Matt Davey from Indiana University being struck by how obvious the idea was. It was obvious to me that once you grasped the technical concepts behind OpenFlow , any decent engineer can perceive the impact on networking. While OpenFlow makes sense, it took another six months before Software Defined Networking became a thing.

Strap yourself in, SDN is just starting and it’s going to be a fun ride.

Cisco Value in vCider is All Programmable Networking

Cisco recently bought vCider. vCider gives Cisco tools for cloud bursting and a proven network driver to deliver overlay networks. It’s a significant boost to their Programmable Networks strategy and definitely an SDN play.

The vCider technology was architecturally similar to Nicira by building tunnels overlays in a network and, in my view, many people are incorrectly misinterpreting this as the core value on the acquisition.

I would posit that there are two aspects to vCider that Cisco is likely to extract value from. 1 – Network driver in Linux. 2 – Cloud burst networking

Screenshot of Google Chrome

ACM SigComm12 Keynote – Nick McKeown

I’ve watched through Nick McKeown’s keynote at SIGCOMM conference in Helsinki. It’s not boring and I made the following notes and links to the relevant places


Northbound API, Southbound API, East/North – LAN Navigation in an OpenFlow World and an SDN Compass

Have been receiving email with questions on OpenFlow/SDN and looking for a definition blog post that explains how East/West and North/South LAN design can work with Northbound/Southbound APIs


Response: Distributed? Centralized? Both? – Cisco Blog on OnePK and SDN

In this blog post, Frank Brockners ( part of the Get Your Build On team) gives a detailed and interesting look into Cisco’s SDN strategy and, specifically, how Cisco see OnePK as fitting into the market. At the moment, the future of SDN in the market is unclear. There are obviously point solutions in the data centre as Nicira showed recently but in terms of the overall network market outside of that market SDN is very unclear. I review this article and attempt to summarise Cisco’s SDN position.


Rant: Our Vendor Partners Dont Have an SDN Vision

There is an old saying “A man with his eyes fixed on Heaven doesn’t see where he is going”. It’s an almost perfect description of how the major vendors are bringing Software Defined Networking to the market.

The consistent message from all the vendors and especially the Cisco, Juniper and Brocade is that there are “no use cases for SDN”. In the last three months, this has been a constantly repeated statement both publicly and privately. This beggars belief that vendors can’t see immediate needs that deliver long term gains.

I suspect that the root of this problem is the big companies want to solve big problems. And by solving big problems they figure that they can make big revenue. Alright, I get that. It’s understandable that large organisations need a constant revenue stream to feed the insatiable maws of their shareholders. However, the vendors re also missing the most real and immediate problem of networking today. Simply, Networking is too hard.

Vendors haven’t developed tools that keep the complexity of networking under control. Complexity can be reduced to this: “I don’t have big problems, I have lots of small problems.” You can have debates about addressing complexity and how to attack it, but it nearly always boils down to this: start small.


ONF Extends their SDN to Embrace NETCONF and YANG

In this blog post, Calle Moberg (from Tail-F Systems who makes NETCONF software) highlights that the ONF has embraced NETCONF as mandatory for configuration of OpenFlow enabled devices. I didn’t know this was coming: [...] OF-CONFIG1.0 requires that devices supporting OF-CONFIG 1.0 MUST implement NETCONF protocol as the transport. This in turn implies as specified […]

Internet of Interest 20120212 curve

Bumper SDN/OpenFlow Roundup on Links for ONS 2012

  Internets of Interest is a conceit of mine where I collect useful, relevant or just fun places on the Internet and a bit commentary about what I’ve found interesting about them. With the Open Network Summit 2012 happening last week, there was an avalanche of hype from the mainstream press. I’ve attempted to pick something off […]


OpenFlow might lower CapEx while SDN will increase OpEx

A lot of people have talked extensively about OpenFlow making significant changes to the networking business. In particular, many writers have focussed on the possibility that OpenFlow enables a choice of using low cost network equipment instead of the expensive networking equipment that we use today.

Well, that’s highly unlikely.

ipspace openflow webinar 20111118

Introduction to OpenFlow & SDN – Presentation and Screen Recording Posted

Thanks to Ivan at, we have posted the video and presentations from the SDN & OpenFlow on Tuesday including a demonstration of the OpenFlow/SDN with the BigSwitch virtualization controller.

Will SDN/OpenFlow be used in the Enterprise ?

Following the OpenFlow/SDN webinar last week, Brad sent me this question:

What does your crystal ball tell you regarding industry acceptance? I can see the Google’s of the world needing this—but what about the average enterprise?

Here is my best effort at answering:

Is OpenFlow Open ? I Ask – Compared to What ?

In this post, I’m considering whether the Open Networking Foundation is the correct process for managing and developing the "open standards" for OpenFlow. The Open Networking Foundation is owned and funded by a cabal of large corporations whose requirements for improving their hyper-scale data centres is the primary motivation. But what about the wider marketplace including the Campus and the Enterprise. I also look at what open means at the controller layer.

Comparing Embrane and Nicira is Pointless – They Are Different

Had a few conversations, and some articles, where comparisons are being made between Embrane and Nicira and wanted to point out that there are few similarities between these companies.


Defining Flow Forwarding instead of Switch or Routing

Wherein I make the case OpenFlow like technologies are neither switching or routing. It’s Flow Forwarding, or just Forwarding.

OpenFlow and Software Defined Networking: Is it Routing or Switching ?

I got asked a question by a reader “is OpenFlow used for Routing or Switching ?”

Controller Based Networks for Data Centres

The current technologies of data centre networks don’t address the fundamental scaling issues. You can’t scale to hundreds of independent switches, we need to have less control planes for more coherent functions. Here is my take on next wave of networking in the data centre beyond DCB and TRILL.

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