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SDN blog roundup: Do SDN start-ups fit into an overlay network world?

SDN bloggers discuss an SDN book review, along with overlay networks and China's adoption of SDN.

No NSX fear: Plexxi says hardware switches crucial in network overlays

In light of VMware's NSX launch, SDN startups are clamoring to make known where they stand in the new network virtualization world order. Plexxi's Marten Terpstra took to the company blog to assure readers that Plexxi is all for overlay networks. Plexxi's physical network complements overlay networks, he writes. In fact, pushing network functionality into the vSwitch and introducing automation could limit configuration complexity in physical networks, making them simpler to manage and better-performing. He goes on to say that physical switches can, and should, act as gateways to tunnel traffic, providing awareness of virtual traffic on the physical infrastructure. Then the physical components take care of more complex forwarding calculations and even can play a role in provisioning network segments.

Read Terpstra's full post on overlay networks, NSX and DevOps.

Book review: SDN: Software Defined Networks

On the Packet Pushers site, blogger Russ White reviews SDN: Software Defined Networks, a book by SearchSDN expert Thomas Nadeau and co-author Ken Gray. White writes that the book is ideal for anyone looking for a solid introduction to the technology.

White details some chapters of the book, including ones focused on use cases and network function virtualization. Some criticism comes, though, with regard to a chapter focusing on multi-tenant data centers. White writes that although this was useful information, he wasn't convinced it fit into the overall flow of the book.

Read White's full review of the book Software Defined Networks.

China will have input into the future of SDN

During a recent conference in China, representatives from Google, IBM and the Open Networking Foundation gathered to talk SDN, prompting a blog post from Rick Merritt on EE Times in which he questions whether China will set the global standard for SDN, as it did for 4G and other technologies.

The conference was planned by a partnership between the ONF and the China SDN and Open Networking Commission (CSONC), which was founded in December. Although it isn't clear what the two groups have planned in terms of SDN and OpenFlow, writes Merritt, there is still time and room for China and its networking industry to chime in with new ideas and technologies regarding SDN.

Check out Merritt's full post on the recent CSONC conference and how soon China's SDN efforts could come to fruition.

A deep dive into Plexxi's optical mesh architecture

On his blog, Ivan Pepelnjak writes that Plexxi has an extremely creative data center fabric solution, but that the tools that engineers use to build traditional networks just don't work well with the Plexxi architecture. Pepelnjak breaks down the Plexxi architecture in a series of diagrams, exploring its optical mesh and a data center row deployment within Plexxi's LightRail solution. Then he goes on to explain why Shortest Path First (SPF) routing won't work in that scenario.

Read Pepelnjak's full breakdown of Plexxi's architecture and how the company works without the use of SPF.

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March of this year IBM said “We will use OpenStack for all of our clouds.” This includes public smart clouds as a service and private clouds installed in data centers for enterprise customers.
In June, IBM beat EMC/VMware to the punch and bought SoftLayer for $2B+. Softlayer does not currently support OpenStack. However, it does bring a customer base of 22,000, 13 data centers, 115,000 servers, management of virtualized or un-virtualized hardware dedicated to a single tenant, and the ability to invoke both private and public networks from individual cloud servers. (Each server contains four network interface cards, two for redundant Internet connections and two for private network connections.)
Near term the strategy is sound, first promote customer control of dedicated physical (IBM Power) and virtualized servers for private cloud Enterprise’ requiring premium service, then focus on public Internet access for control of virtualized multi-tenant servers with support for OpenStack. It remains to be seen if Softlayer will remain more of a virtual overlay extending DC compute control, or if IBM will embrace SDN and develop ASIC level granularity required to control end-to-end application work flows. Either way, you can’t argue with Softlayer’s established revenue stream(s) and built-in, private cloud-private control savvy customer base.
Nice moves IBM.