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SDN blogs: Ethernet, SDN and OpenFlow; bare-metal effects

This week's SDN bloggers take a look at Ethernet switches, SDN and OpenFlow; the effects of bare-metal on the market; and the multiple sides to Cisco's SDN strategy.

This week, we rounded up some of the most notable SDN blogs on the Web, including thoughts on Ethernet switches, SDN and OpenFlow; SDN and the physical network; and the effects of bare-metal on the market.

Ethernet, SDN and OpenFlow

On his Peering Introvert site, author Ethan Banks examines the role of Ethernet switches in SDN. SDN offers a framework to make automated data center deployments happen, and even make various forwarding decisions. When evaluating an Ethernet switch, Banks says there are two questions to consider as it relates to SDN:

  • Is the switch programmable?
  • How is the switch programmable?

The answers to these questions are tricky, but Banks lists features to look for in an Ethernet switch, such as OpenFlow and OVSDB support, and whether they can act as VXLAN tunnel endpoints. In the end, he writes, it's important to remember that SDN is a foundational technology that allows consumers to do things with their networks that weren't possible with traditional networking approaches. Banks adds it can be beneficial to look beyond incumbent network vendors and see what other new comers are offering Ethernet switching options.

Take a look at Banks's advice regarding Ethernet switches, OpenFlow and SDN.

SDN and the physical network

On his personal blog site, Rob Hirschfeld, senior distinguished architect at Dell, turned the floor over to guest blogger Scott Jensen, who looks at issues with SDN and the physical network. Although a common SDN strategy is to build an overlay network on top of the physical network, ignoring the physical network's configuration can cause the entire system to perform poorly.

When building a new network, it's important to know how specific portions of the system will be used and how this will affect the physical network under the SDN. Jensen writes that SDN shouldn't just be used to create overlays. Instead, it should also take into account the physical infrastructure and help with modifying the configuration of the physical devices.

Check out Jensen's full post looking at issues that can arise when the physical network is ignored.

Bare-metal switch pricing

On the Plexxi company blog site, Mike Bushong, vice president of marketing, took a look at the current state of bare-metal switch pricing and the impact the bare-metal movement will have on resellers. Bushong goes into specifics regarding the price of hardware in networking and how bare-metal developments will create pricing pressure on big-name vendors like Cisco.

The biggest disruption will come not with pricing, though, but with margins. Bare-metal switch providers will be willing to give up margin to take a piece of the "Ethernet switching pie," Bushong writes. He continues his post by looking at how vendors like Cisco may respond to pricing and margin pressures. At the end of the day, these dynamics will make the channel an integral part in the "upcoming war" for data center networking, he writes.

Check out Bushong's full post on bare-metal switching, pricing, and the impacts this could have on resellers.

A rundown of Cisco SDN

On the No Jitter blog site, author Terry Slattery penned a post looking at Cisco's ACI SDN strategy. Slattery answers questions regarding ACI and APIC, and he explores why the company didn't look at OpenFlow. Slattery includes a description of an ACI demonstration, writing that although he doesn't going into detail as to what's happening "under the covers," the industry as a whole should be looking at more use cases to identify hurdles in implementation that an enterprise would need to know about. Slattery summarizes his post by writing that Cisco is betting on multiple SDN initiatives, including OpenDaylight and ACI, and he predicts both will move close together as they share innovations.

Take a look at Slattery's full post examining Cisco's SDN strategy.

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