SDN blog roundup: OpenFlow and SDN, F5 Networks, Cisco vPath

In this week's SDN blog roundup, bloggers discuss incorporating OpenFlow into an SDN strategy, F5's venture into SDN and vPath from Cisco.

What to know about OpenFlow

On SDNCentral, high-tech exec Isabelle Guis has written a guide to incorporating OpenFlow into a software-defined networking strategy. One major criteria for choosing an SDN vendor, she writes, is whether or not it is considering OpenFlow to standardize SDN, because even though many vendors are "working together around OpenFlow," not every company is implementing it.

Guis includes in her post a table of popular companies supporting OpenFlow. She points out that although many incumbents support the standard, most startups are split between OpenFlow and proprietary protocols. As the technology matures, we can expect an uptake in OpenFlow players, she writes. In the meantime, though, understanding vendor dynamics and the logic around OpenFlow offerings can help companies make informed decisions regarding their SDN strategies.

Read Guis' breakdown of understanding and incorporating OpenFlow into an SDN strategy.

Exploring vPath, OpenFlow and SDN

On his blog, Jason Edelman, senior solutions architect, discusses the differences between OpenFlow and vPath, and how both are incorporated into SDN. Although OpenFlow is a widely discussed protocol when it comes to software-defined networking, vPath discussions are few and far between.

Edelman explains that vPath is a strategic, Cisco-based technology used in the company's virtual switch deployments. He writes that OpenFlow is a protocol used between a controller and switch to remotely program a forwarding table, while vPath is used between Nexus virtual switches and virtual services nodes. He concludes that Cisco "has developed what they should be calling SDN technology," and although both OpenFlow and vPath accomplish service insertion, vPath has the potential to steer more traffic to virtual service nodes and take on more control plane functions.

Check out more of Edelman's insights into OpenFlow, vPath, and SDN.

Using OpenDaylight and OpenFlow

On his Network Static blog, Brent Salisbury, network architect, outlines an OpenFlow, OpenDaylight tutorial. With the introduction of the OpenDaylight project in recent weeks, he writes that this tutorial is simple enough and is meant to help users "kickstart the dependencies" and learn how instantiating OpenFlow flow rules work.

Salisbury writes that he was learning the system himself as he put together his post. He downloaded OpenDaylight on Ubuntu and used Mininet as a software switch. He includes links to both in his post. Salisbury goes on to outline an OpenDaylight installation, and ends his post by writing that this was excellent work done by the OpenDaylight group.

View Salisbury's full tutorial on OpenDaylight and OpenFlow.

F5 Networks and SDN

On PacketPushers, IT professional Steven Iveson writes about F5 Networks' SDN plans. F5 acquired SDN startup LineRate Systems in early 2013, and he writes that the general SDN focus on open standards blends well with the company's approach. SDN's concepts of centralized control, programmability and intelligence all come into play with regard to F5's strengths, he adds, and as a result, the company is poised to take full advantage of the emerging technology.

Iveson warns, however, that F5 needs to adapt more quickly, and although there are benefits associated with its SDN acquisition, SDN can present a "grave risk" to smaller vendors, particularly where Layer 4-7 products are concerned. In turn, F5 needs to ensure it's relevant and can sell products to in this new market, he writes. He ends his post by saying that the potential is there for F5 Networks to become a major player in the SDN market, but the company does need to "do something radical" to ensure it doesn't become irrelevant.

View more of Iveson's post on F5 Networks and the company's venture into SDN.

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