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SDN blog roundup: OpenFlow hybrid networks; debating SDN's definition

In this week's SDN blog roundup, bloggers discuss Node.js in network automation, why an OpenFlow hybrid needs to happen, and what is SDN?

ONS shifts from SDN 'exploration' to sales talk: What a shame

On the Plexxi site, blogger and SDN expert Mike Bushong reflected on his time at the Open Networking Summit, only to conclude that the conference's shift from exploring software-defined networking (SDN) and its possibilities to simply selling SDN has come too early. SDN, he argued, is still in its formative stages, and the industry needs forums where it can discuss the future of the emerging technology instead of hearing sales pitches.

Once a conference succumbs to sales talk, it's hard to go back, Bushong wrote. He wondered where the industry can turn to have educated discussions sans product pushing.

Read more of Bushong's insights into the Open Networking Summit (ONS) 2013 conference.

Should applications have more direct contact with the physical network?

On the Network Heresy blog, network virtualization innovators JR Rivers, Bruce Davie and Martin Casado challenged the idea that network virtualization limits interaction between applications and the underlying physical network, causing problems.

The authors explained that "a well-provisioned IP network with rich multipath capabilities is robust, effective and simple," and therefore resilient enough to handle virtualized networks and the applications that run on them.

Check out the Network Heresy bloggers' full argument disproving the idea that applications need to have direct contact with the physical network.

Why we need OpenFlow hybrid networks

According to Nick Buraglio, blogger at The Forwarding Plane, OpenFlow isn't just a buzzword. In fact, with the onset of SDN, the industry needs to start thinking about hybrid networks that incorporate traditional aspects and SDN, at least as a start.

Buraglio said it's unreasonable to think we can replace critical infrastructure and legacy support mechanisms with OpenFlow networks. That's why he's calling for a transitional period where both traditional and OpenFlow networks coexist.

Read more of Burgalio's argument behind having OpenFlow hybrids.

Wait. …what's SDN?

On the Gigaom site, author Jordan Novet discovered that people are, indeed, still debating the definition of SDN. He explained that at ONS, speakers agreed on what SDN is (the separation of the control plane and the data plane), but what engineers can do with the technology isn't quite clear.

In turn, this is creating confusion among enterprises, since they are unsure what products will solve their problems. Novet wrote that during a lunch with network engineers, he heard how implementing open source code via the OpenDaylight Project may not be as good of a choice as sticking with hardware, since it introduces more risk to their data center. And since different definitions of SDN are flying around, they often hear that SDN isn't going to make networks programmable, making them uncertain of the technology.

Read more of Novet's findings about the public's perceptions of SDN.

Choosing Node.js for network management

On the Ethereal Mind blog, Greg Ferro, network engineer and architect, wrote about the rise of the network programmability and the potential of using node.js as a network programming language for management.

Ferro outlined the case for and against incorporating node.js and ended his post by asking readers if they think it's right to choose simpler programming toolsets like JavaScript and node.js. Ferro's question garnered a healthy reader response.

Check out more of Ferro's break down ofusing Node.js for network automation.

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