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SDN blogs: Network automation and SDN; what is an SDN API?

SDN bloggers take a look at how network automation and SDN intersect, what is an SDN API, and how the Cisco acquisition of Tail-F could affect multi-vendor management systems.

SDN bloggers take a look at how network automation and SDN intersect, what an SDN API is and how the Cisco acquisition of Tail-F could affect multi-vendor management systems.

Culture shifts, network automation and SDN

Although some people equate SDN and network automation, Matt Oswalt writes that instead, network automation should be considered a prerequisite for what will be happening in the network in the next 10 years -- SDN. On his Keeping it Classless blog, Oswalt explains how today's marketing tactics make it tricky to see what's real SDN and what's not.

For SDN to truly work today, there needs to be both a cultural shift and work that's already been done on the network automation front. A culture of automation is critical to the success of SDN in organizations today, since it represents an evolution in networking for folks who took the time to define their workflows. In turn, SDN represents the next step in networking for those who have mastered network automation and have fostered a culture that isn't afraid of failure.

Check out Oswalt's full post, exploring the differences between network automation and SDN and how company culture plays into it all.

What are APIs in relation to SDN?

Networking blogger Ivan Pepelnjak explains what an API is in relation to SDN per a reader question on his Ip Space blog. Pepelnjak explains the basics of what an API stands for -- application programming interface -- and what it does. He mentions Cisco OnePK as an example of an API that defines a large number of functions that a Java program can call on to influence IOS behavior. One of the most popular client-server API methods, he adds, is REST, which encodes parameter or function results in JSON or XML format and uses HTTP as the transport protocol to exchange data between the client and the server. Pepelnjak also includes diagrams on how to use REST API to configure an Arista switch.

Take a look at Pepelnjak's postexplaining the ins and outs of APIs as they relate to SDN.

What Cisco's acquisition of Tail-F could mean for management systems

On The Forwarding Plane blog, author Nick Buraglio looks at the purchase of Tail-F systems by Cisco, and what this means for operators, architects and engineers who are looking for a management platform. Tail-F was essentially the Rosetta Stone for network management, he writes, but with this purchase, Buraglio believes it will lead to a gaping hole in this type of management system.

Even though Cisco has been friendlier on the open source front, Buraglio believes it will make no sense for the company to support a platform that allows for the use of any network platform. For those looking for a cross vendor management solution, similar to Tail-F's, they're now left out in the cold. However, Buraglio writes that there is a silver lining of sorts: the cup is half full in the forwarding plane today, he says, and his hope is that the lack of a real commercial product that does what a network control system (NCS) does will kick start the free and open-source software (FOSS) world into building something.

See what else Buraglio had to say about the Cisco acquisition of Tail-F Systems.

The SDN rollout: Where are we at?

Plexxi's Mike Bushong looks at the current state of the SDN movement in a post on the company blog site. In an attempt to predict who the break out SDN players will be, Bushong breaks down his post into sections, explaining that SDN is more of a 'how' not a 'what' and that there has been an over-rotation of vague SDN use cases as of late. Narrow use cases are the ones that are most telling as to where the value of SDN lies. Bushong ends his post by reiterating that the companies who will be most successful with their SDN offerings are the ones focusing on deployments in the real world, with a narrow set of use cases and a targeted customer base.

Check out Bushong's break down of the SDN market and how companies will become major players.

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