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SDN blog roundup: SDN business benefits; SDN security; SDN, IPv6

Michelle McNickle

Cisco talks SDN business uses

On the Cisco blog, Teren Bryson, IT manager and senior network engineer at Snoqualmie, Wash.-based Zetec, took a look at SDN in the enterprise and how the technology is aligning with business needs. Often, the buzz around new technology like SDN overshadows its business benefits.

Bryson explained that VMware became a leader in the virtualization space by establishing the tangible business benefits of the technology and establishing a dominant vision for the technology. However, with SDN, there is no dominant entity "pushing a single vision for the future," and with the rush to establish an SDN vision, many vendors are forgetting that the goal of IT, first and foremost, is to enable a business. Everything IT does, Bryson wrote, is measured against and justified in the context of business results.

Check out Bryson's full post on the issues SDN faces with creating business benefits

SDN is great, but make way for IPv6

SDN and OpenFlow are great, wrote The Forwarding Plane's Nick Buraglio, but the next big thing to be on the lookout for is IPv6. NAT (network address translation), he said, is an "abomination," while projects aimed at extending the use of IPv4 are pointless.

Buraglio wrote that IPv6 isn't just ready to be adopted -- it's already in production in Asia and other parts of the world. In fact, he added, IT professionals will eventually have to "deal" with IPv6, whether they want to or not, and unless you disable IPv6 on a modern operating system, most are already using it. Buraglio ended his post by including resources on IPv6, including an IPv6 certification program.

Read Buraglio's full post on why now is the time for IPv6.

Networking's future means an emphasis on utilization

Today's conversations focusing on SDN and automation are great, and even though they may take years to realize, Mike Bushong is already asking, "What's next after automation?" on the Plexxi company blog. Bushong wrote that the discussion will eventually turn to gaining greater capacities and, essentially, utilization.

How to get improved utilization, though, is easier said than done. Ultimately, more intelligent path designs will get us there, Bushong wrote. If pathing decisions considered all available capacity, instead of "shunting everything through the same subset of paths," we would see a more even distribution of traffic. This idea isn't new, Bushong argued, and stems back to Google's experiment with SDN and, quite possibly, the Path Computation Element Protocol.

View more of Bushong's post on utilization, capacity and the future of networking.

A look at overlays and virtual packets

Ivan Pepelnjak took a stab at explaining overlay network forwarding in a recent post on his site. Pepelnjak answered questions regarding overlay network forwarding, like how the virtual machine (VM) knows the MAC address of the other VM, how the ARP request gets to the other VM, and how the overlay networking module knows the IP address of the target hypervisor. Pepelnjak included diagrams to better explain his post and summarized overlay network forwarding by writing that all major overlay virtual networking implementations are essential when it comes to frame forwarding mechanisms.

Check out Pepelnjak's full post on overlay network forwarding.

Is Cisco's Sourcefire a gateway to SDN security services?

Cisco's recent announcement of its pending acquisition of Sourcefire Inc. sparked a post on SDN Central by Craig Matsumoto, managing editor of the site. According to Matsumoto, the acquisition could be part of Cisco's plan to make more money using SDN and network functions virtualization (NFV).

Matsumoto added that the acquisition sets the stage for future products by Cisco, considering the team from Sourcefire that's coming to Cisco. The potential for additional services is great as well, since Cisco is also acquiring firewalls, IDS and anti-malware, along with a business model for all these services. Matsumoto wrote that it will be interesting to see what new capabilities will be integrated with SDN controllers, as well as NFV activity, since Sourcefire's products are x86-based.

Read Matsumoto's full analysis of the pending acquisition, as well as his thoughts on the growing partnership between security products and SDN.


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