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SDN blogs: OpenFlow for overlay design; building FlowVisor on CentOS6

Michelle McNickle

SDN, budding careers, and the role of networking fundamentals

On his Ethereal Mind blog, author Greg Ferro addressed the throngs of emails he's received from engineers wondering how much SDN will change networking, and how they should prepare for these transitions.

Ferro advised that change is as sure as death and taxes, but he also reminded engineers of an important concept: While new technologies like SDN will emerge, it's still crucial to learn networking fundamentals. ("Ethernet is Ethernet," he wrote). Along with the fundamentals, engineers must be ready to add new skills as new technology emerges, but even then, new networking expertise will only have a shelf life of about five years.

Check out Ferro's article to younger engineers, and see why accepting change and recognizing the basics are key.

How to quickly build a FlowVisor on CentOS 6

On the Forwarding Plane blog, author Nick Buraglio gave a quick rundown of how to build a FlowVisor on CentOS 6. He linked to two docs he used to pull his method together, and included steps from installing the prerequisites through starting the controller, and seeing output once the controller is started.

Read the full post on Buraglio's quick and easy way to build a FlowVisor on Centos 6.

A look at a post-OpenFlow SDN environment

On SDN Central, Markus Nispel, chief technology strategist at Enterasys, explored why the SDN conversation has shifted from focusing on OpenFlow and the southbound application to a more general look at how SDN can leverage northbound application programming interfaces (APIs) from various solutions.

The benefits of SDN are now coming into the spotlight, and surprisingly, they include solutions that don't use OpenFlow, he wrote. Nispel outlined three attributes that he believes comprise an SDN architecture: a centralized point of management and control, a programmable environment, and an open API infrastructure. He then questioned if the OpenDaylight project will be the northbound API, or if there will be more than one.

Take a look at Nispel's arguments on why OpenFlow's time in the spotlight is over.

Interoperability, interchangeability, and the concept of 'open' networking

On the Plexxi company blog, Mike Bushong, vice president of marketing, continued his series on openness in networking, examining how the concept intertwines with interoperability and interchangeability. He wrote that a major driver of open solutions is the ability to swap components from differing vendors, mitigating vendor lock-in and keeping the "price-pressure" on vendors.

Bushong also took a look at standards -- specifically, OpenFlow -- and how they impact interchangeability in the industry. He warned customers to be aware of the different levels of support for the standard before making design decisions based on interchangeability.

Read Bushong's full post on the concept of openness, interoperability and interchangeability.

Understanding the OpenFlow Overlay

On his blog, Network Static, network architect Brent Salisbury looks at how to implement SDN without replacing networks and without having to employ vendor applications. He explained that it's possible to use VID, VPLS and even GREs to set up network overlays and avoid messing with the "native core." OpenFlow can be used to enable these kinds of overlay designs, he explained.

Salisbury goes on to illustrate an OpenFlow overlay design and wrote that although his approach may be that of a purist, he sees it as a common sense and low-risk way of establishing a network.

Check out Salisbury's post on the OpenFlow overlay in its entirety.


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