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At CohesiveFT, we believe SDN is a broader domain than just OpenFlow as we elucidate below. On the OpenFlow front we are big fans and becoming advocates as it is unbundling the monolithic service provider network stack and creating junctures for innovation. Some of these innovations will be appearing in a data center near you next year, and some will take many years. OpenFlow is an elegant opening foray into the kind of flexibility we have come to expect from componentized hardware and software - but have never had for the network.
Virtual infrastructure is vastly different from “what we have now,” by the network segmentations for security, organizational, or application purposes that are now vestigial since application nodes run anywhere within a virtualized compute pool, and ideally the infrastructure operators know nothing about the application, its semantics, relationships or behaviors.
To emphasize the point, a cloud service provider wants to be able to spin up virtual computers as quickly as possible, terminate them quickly, provide access to virtualized storage slices, and give access to network resources (mostly in the form of "bulk anonymous transport"), and from a business success point of view needs this infrastructure to be easy to own, manage and operate, as well as increasingly, to federate.
Where does this meet with the concerns of the cloud application? As the cloud application and its "owner," I want application nodes in the form of virtual machines to go up and down quickly, I want access to storage, I want access to network resources, and from a business success point of view I need my applications in this infrastructure easy to own, manage and operate - as well as increasingly - to federate.
The needs and concerns of the cloud service provider are distinctly different than the needs and concerns of the cloud service user (the application topology deployed to the cloud and its owner). We call this the service provider-controlled layers and the application-controlled layer.
In the symmetry above, the needs and concerns of cloud provider and application user sound similar if not the same, but they are not. One set is from the point of view of the "landlord" and the other from the point of view of the "tenant.”
We, at CohesiveFT, embrace the terms of software defined networking and network virtualization, and believe that like the phrases computer virtualization and storage virtualization, network virtualization will be a "big tent" encompassing many overlapping, orthogonal, and complementary facets of the broad concept. Please check out our White Paper for more of our thoughts on SDN and our “big tent” proposal.
Thanks for the answer and link. I'll have to read some more about OpenFlow. The potential increase in network efficiency by separating packet switching and management is intriguing. I would love to be able to achieve significantly higher percentage network usage, so that usable network capacity could be increased without actually increasing capacity! I will have to do some more reading on this. Thanks again!