SDN blogs: White-box switch basics; SDN in the WAN; is OpenFlow useful?

SDN bloggers take a look at SDN in the WAN, the basics of the white-box switch, and how useful OpenFlow actually is.

SDN and the WAN

Though it's still hard to connect users to applications in the WAN, there are many new architectures that can help, writes Garner's Andrew Lerner on the company blog site.

Lerner outlines a few companies that are changing the WAN with SDN, orchestration and programmability. Lerner stops short of rating these companies, but gives a nice overview of what each does, highlighting that they each have surprisingly different takes on how to improve the WAN.  

Take a look at Lerner's post detailing WAN issues and new products available.

UBS analyst says SDN is Cisco's game to lose

On the Barron's Tech Trader Daily blog, author Tiernan Ray writes about a series of reports by UBS analyst Amitabh Passi called the "State of SDN." The reports look at the pulse of the market as it relates to SDN and includes a summary of various approaches to the new technology.

The most noteworthy take away from Passi's report, writes Ray, is that, despite the onslaught of competition in the space, it's still Cisco's game to lose. The company should be in it for the long run, Passi wrote, if it can deliver on TCO savings.

Check out Ray's overview of Passi's SDN market reports.

What's the point of OpenFlow?

A recent post by network engineer Ivan Pepelnjak questions the point of OpenFlow. In a follow-up post on his site, Pepelnjak writes that OpenFlow, in reality, is just a low-level tool. It allows users to install PBR-like forwarding entries into networking devices using a standard protocol that should work across multiple vendors, and, from this perspective, OpenFlow offers the same functionality as BGP FlowSpec and is already implemented in gear from many vendors.

Read Pepelnjak's full explanation of OpenFlow and the advantages it has over similar tools.

White-box switching: Is it worth it?

That's the question Ethan Banks looks to answer on his Peering Introvert blog. After attending the Open Networking User Group meeting and a session on white-box switching, Banks breaks down what white-box switching is and how it can benefit users.

There are four major components that make up a network switch: silicon, box, network OS and drivers, and applications. White-box switching, Banks writes, is the idea that the silicon and box can be bought as one offering, and the network OS and applications as another offering. There are a number of reasons why customers could be interested in white-box switching, including avoiding vertical lock-in, lowering OpEx by building a more customized network environment, lowering CapEx via a horizontal competition or buying the least expensive box.

Take a look at Banks' overview of white-box switching and the benefits certain customers can gain from them.

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