November 19, 2013

Challenges Facing SDN and How to Get Around Them – Upcoming Webinar

This blog provides a brief summary of our upcoming Webinar on Tuesday November 26 at 11AM ET and why anyone interested in SDN should attend.

Software-Defined Networking (SDN) is an architecture that enables organizations to easily manage and introduce new network services. This is done by decoupling the management and control layers from the underlying hardware that forwards/switches data packets (the data plane).

The goal is that the management and control layers (the “smarts”) will be based on software, while the data plane will be based on commodity hardware. In theory, this means several units of hardware can be controlled by one control unit, through a defined inter-device protocol such as OpenFlow.

The result is that many networking vendors will build commodity switches that are separated from and can interwork with controller software from other companies. The control layer will also interwork with the service/application layer where multiple applications will be made available.


SDN has been around since 2008. However based on a recent survey of network and IT managers:

  • Currently only 15 percent of organizations have deployed or are in pilot with SDN.

  • Almost half of the survey’s respondents find it difficult to understand and articulate how SDN technologies will improve networking in their organization

  • There is still very little support for OpenFlow; only 11 percent of organizations are using or trialing OpenFlow.

Why you should attend:

So what are the issues restricting the deployment of SDN? May be part of the issue is that SDN is too complicated, requires significant incremental purchase of hardware or does not provide rich integration with applications – this is what we are seeing and hearing from others. I recently wrote about Cisco’s Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI), their new SDN solution. If you read my blog or any of the many write-ups on this announcement you will learn that Cisco has made it more complicated and expensive to deploy their SDN solution.

Why should a customer have to buy a new expensive hardware switch in order to deploy a “Software-Defined” solution? It really does not make sense. Besides OpenFlow what should a customer consider? Are OpenStack, OpenDaylight, vCloud and SDNCentral relevant?  What applications are currently available for SDN deployment? These and many other questions will be answered in our upcoming Webinar on Tuesday November 26 at 11AM ET. We will also discuss megatrends driving the need for SDN. Please join us!

Ali Kafel is the Director of Product Marketing for Enterasys, now Extreme Networks, and an Adjunct Professor at Suffolk University. He is a frequent contributor to the Enterasys Blog site and TMCnet. Please follow him on twitter @akafel for more thoughts on this and other Enterprise Networking topics.

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Extreme Marketing Team

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