SDN is one of the most disruptive developments in networking since the rise of the Internet. That’s the word from Eve Griliches (News - Alert), vice president of optical research at ACG Research.
Griliches will be a speaker and moderator at the Software Defined Networking pre-conference workshop on Tuesday, Jan. 29. The SDN event will be part of TMC's ITEXPO (News - Alert) Miami 2013 at the Miami Beach Convention Center.
“To me, [SDN] is one of the most interesting pivot points in networking I’ve seen pretty much since the Internet,” says Griliches.
SDN is an architecture that separates the control and data planes of the network, but Griliches adds it’s really about much more than that. SDN is about looking at active flows in the network, understanding the requirements of those different flows, and using the network to provide those flows with the appropriate bandwidth and other network resources, she says.
What SDN will do is open up the network in the way we’ve opened up the applications on the iPhone (News - Alert) to enhance what we are doing in the network, she says. This view of the network is very disruptive considering we’ve traditionally built networks from the ground up, with connectivity at the forefront.
“It’s an entire paradigm shift here, and people are going to have to think very differently with SDN,” she says. “It’s not just the next greatest thing that’s bigger and better.”
The basic components of SDN, according to Griliches, include switching elements that are optimized for fast switching but that do not have a higher order intelligence; and a controller, which is centralized, controls the switches and can be used to manage network resources and performance based on the apps. A northbound interface on the controller can allow for apps to hook in.
“Most of the apps being written today are to improve network performance from A to Z,” she adds, but that will expand to address other opportunities going forward.
SDN applies to data centers, enterprise networks and service provider networks. Griliches believes that at least half of enterprise and wide area networks will leverage SDN in some form within about five years.
“It’s a more logical approach to networking that we haven’t really been able to do before,” she says, adding that SDN is now possible due to the algorithms to understand flows and the decreasing costs of hardware.
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Edited by Brooke Neuman