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SDN, open source nexus to accelerate service creation

What's new in the SDN blog world? One expert says SDN advancements will be accelerated, thanks to SDN and open source convergence, while another points out the influence SDN has in the cloud industry.

In this week's SDN blog roundup, one networking expert talks about how collaborators using open source influence the world of SDN. Another networking blogger recommends getting used to the fact that networking is infrastructure, and a third sees the advancements of SDN paralleling carriers' cloud strategies.

SDN, open source a match made in heaven?

Jim Metzler, vice president of Ashton, Metzler & Associates, based in Sanibel, Fla., shared his thoughts on The Elastic Network blog about open source's influence in software-defined networking, or SDN. Metzler noted the recent trend of using open source to develop SDN controllers, platforms and frameworks that could accelerate service providers' implementation of SDN and network functions virtualization, or NFV.

It is in everyone's best interest to shorten the time to market by working together to develop open source solutions.
Jim Metzlervice president of Ashton, Metzler and Associates

Various open source projects are ongoing, as individuals and organizations work together to create open source SDN applications. These projects hope to propel the adoption of SDN by making the process of implementing SDN and NFV easier. Metzler recognized well-known projects like Open Network Operating System, OpenDaylight and Open Platform for NFV. He also mentioned the Open Source SDN collaboration, sponsored by Open Networking Foundation, which encourages developers and operators to work together toward deploying SDN through open source software.

Metzler said vendors out for their own interest could slow down SDN open source development, or steer it in a direction favorable to them. However, he was impressed that groups and individuals are working together toward this goal. According to Metzler, "it is in everyone's best interest to shorten the time to market by working together to develop open source solutions."

To learn more about SDN, open source and their convergence, read Metzler's full post here.

The correlation between SDN and cloud

Competition between traditional carriers and public cloud providers that offer hosted services and manage enterprise applications is intensifying, thanks to SDN, network functions virtualization and other technologies, said Christopher Wilder, senior analyst at Moor Insights & Strategy. While cloud computing has already evolved from a business concept to a common way of doing things, this emerging competition could help the cloud industry further mature and attract recalcitrant enterprises to take the plunge.

Carriers, Wilder wrote, are capitalizing on SDN and NFV principles to carve their niche. Both technologies reflect a conversion from hardware to software, focusing on virtualization. They are further correlated due to a transparent partnership between the network and the cloud. Wilder also wrote how middleware platforms and open source influence the cloud migration, as communities of developers can work together to more quickly design, develop and deploy services. 

Finally, Wilder addressed containers and their increasing role in the enhancement of cloud services. Wilder said he doesn't believe containers can replace virtual machines, but they do allow companies to run more applications on a server. Additionally, he said containers help deploy applications more efficiently, improve testing and extend development environments.

Check out Wilder's complete thoughts here.

Networking and infrastructure: One and the same

It's time people get used to the idea that networking is infrastructure. That's what networking engineer and ipSpace blogger Ivan Pepelnjak said in response to the "meaningless debate" about whether you should adapt your network for applications, or adapt applications for a network.

To illustrate his point, Pepelnjak created an analogy, which equated a car manufacturer to an application developer: The manufacturer invents a self-driving car that only requires a guiding track to be installed on every road. Yet, despite its benefits, the innovation generates nothing but disbelief and doubts -- no doubt due to the costs and challenges associated with building the tracks. Application developers, Pepelnjak wrote, use the same approach -- touting their products' benefits without revealing the "risky kluges" necessary to make networks work.

Instead of waiting for "ground unicorn droppings" to solve all networking problems, Pepelnjak said IT needs to allow networks to evolve as any other infrastructure. That means relying on laws of physics and sound engineering principles to develop a cost-optimized infrastructure suited to the majority of needs for the most users. Networking needs to become a transport utility that provides defined services, like firewall and distributed denial-of-service mitigation. And, he wrote, the networks need to be simple in order to be cheap.

Look here for Pepelnjak's complete post.

Next Steps

SDN advances influence the cloud industry

Is this a golden era of infrastructure?

How open source can affect SDN

Dig Deeper on Layer 4-7 network services

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How do you think SDN and cloud can work together to provide better services?
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"Instead of waiting for "ground unicorn droppings" to solve all networking problems, Pepelnjak said IT needs to allow networks to evolve as any other infrastructure. That means relying on laws of physics and sound engineering principles to develop a cost-optimized infrastructure suited to the majority of needs for the most users." 

Absolutely love this! It is exactly what the carriers are doing for their offerings. Make perfect sense! 

--Karen Bannan, commenting for IDG and AT&T
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Hi Karen, thank you for your comment. Since you're viewing Ivan Pepelnjak's blog from a service provider viewpoint, I thought you might be also interested in this new piece from Andrew Froehlich about not getting bogged down in technology names and acronyms, but instead seeing what they can do for you: Laying the foundation for a virtualized network infrastructure
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