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 – PQ Show 015 – Cisco Hybrid Switching and OnePK – Sponsored.
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.
The EtherealMind View
In the months ahead, you will be hearing a lot about OpenFlow and Software Defined Networking. That’s because the technology looks most likely to impact networking. I’m coming to the view that MPLS doesn’t work for solving virtual networking in the data centre. I’ve been researching VXLAN and the operational problems of maintaining and securing Bidirectional Source Multicast trees, or even Any Source Multicast trees, is a serious concern. Overlay networks are not free.
And even if OpenFlow doesn’t work out, the Software Defined Networking part if what really excites me. If OpenFlow does one thing by encouraging software tools that replace the CLI for network configuration then we will have really moved the industry forward. The idea of software program that can positively configure my network is just awesome.
I imagine a software controller that checks the input against a rule base and rejects incompatible configuration. I want to see a log of all changes made to the network, and who did them. And when. And why!
That’s what we need to move networking forward. We MUST reduce the cost of network operations by using software tools to improve reliability and speed. Configuring networks at the CLI was fun, and even practical for a few hundred devices. But the time for the CLI is over.
We must be able to reliably configure tens of thousands of configuration points across thousands of devices.
We need monitoring APIs to feedback quality data about performance and status.
We must have a future that it’s limited by the CLI. The CLI should be able to enhance the software functionality.
But enough ramblings. Lets look back at the history of OpenFlow at EtherealMind and Packet Pushers.
Practical Introduction of OpenFlow
In October 2011 in Show 68 – Practical Introduction and Application of OpenFlow Networking, I delivered a one hour video presentation, with Martine Casado from Nicira riding shotgun, on the fundamentals of OpenFlow. I wrote the presentation so that an engineer could get an introduction to concepts and technologies.
This was written as preparation for the OpenFlow Symposium that we ran in san Jose in November 2011. If you are looking for an introduction to OpenFlow this is a good place to start.
The Tech Field Day OpenFlow Symposium was a big event. Before most people had realised what OpenFlow and SDN was about, we had people Juniper, Cisco, Brocade, BigSwitch and NEC present their visions on OpenFlow. I recently re-watched some of these videos, and was surprised that very little had change dint he last year. The visions and challenges haven’t changed much.
You can find links and video recordings from the main page at http://techfieldday.com/event/ofs11/
Understaning Change in an SDN World
In subsequent podcasts, we have talked a lot of about how SDN will impact the
October 2011 – Show 71 – OpenFlow, SDN, Controllers, VXLAN & Wishing for Fishes where we got a panel of people together after the OpenFlow Symposium to discuss the vendor positioning, messages and what the future might look like.
I made a conscious effort to stop discussing SDN/OpenFlow about this time. But the topic kept being raised by listeners and the audience. Ethan and I responded to listeners questions in May 2012 – Is SDN A TRILL Killer ?
More recently, we have seen Cisco announce their OnePK programmable networking strategy and the Cisco has been sponsoring podcasts to share their message and intentions. In my view, Cisco’s strategy is more than being about supporting OpenFlow, they are attempting to extend the available options to include every aspect of IOS. You can regard this as a good thing, or, more cynically, see them as protecting a legacy platform. The truth is probably somewhere in the middle ….. but we talked extensively about it with Omar Sultan from Cisco here:
Ric Pruss is one of the key developers behind Cisco’s OnePK technology and here he talks about the implementation and usage of their APIs. – PQ Show 003 – Cisco onePK With Richard Pruss – Sponsored
This show talks directly after the announcement st Cisco Live in San Diego. Priority Queue Show 008 – Cisco and Network Programmability – Virtual Symposium
More recently we recorded this show with David Ward who is leading Cisco’s push into the Service Provider market based on programmable networking ( or SDN/ OpenFlow ) as we know it. This is a very high level discussion and possibly the best explanation of how Cisco envisions the future of networking that I’ve found so far: Show 120 – The API Layer Cake With Dave Ward and Lauren Cooney of Cisco – Sponsored
Blog Posts and Packet Pushers.
The are some blog posts over at Packet Pushers that are worth highlighting:
- Russ White – Cisco and the SDN
- Ethan Banks – The Modular Network-in-a-Box: What Could Happen if SDN Thinks Big
And I’ve written quite a bit on the topic of OpenFlow and SDN. You can find all the posts by tracking the tag OpenFlow but these posts have been the most popular:
- [Northbound API, Southbound API, East/North – LAN Navigation in an OpenFlow World and an SDN Compass](Northbound API, Southbound API, East/North – LAN Navigation in an OpenFlow World and an SDN Compass)
- Rant: Our Vendor Partners Dont Have an SDN Vision
- Does SDN Represent the Evolution of Network Management ? Yes but No It Doesn’t
I have nothing to disclose in this article. My full disclosure statement is here