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SDN blogs: Arista SDN cloud release could work

This week, analysts discuss Arista's new SDN controller for cloud networks as well as SD-WAN's effectiveness in computing best path.

In this week's blogs, Arista releases CloudVision, its SDN controller. Arista is late to the SDN market, but one expert says that might have its advantages. The advantages of SD-WAN when determining best path are discussed, and one architect tests out OpenFlow on the Brocade ICX 7450.

Late SDN entry could work for Arista

Arista recently released CloudVision, its new SDN controller for enterprise cloud networks, and network expert Greg Ferro shared his thoughts about the release on the Packet Pushers blog. Ferro writes that Arista needed to make sure it had a product in the private cloud networking space, as he believes that's a segment that is going to grow significantly within the next few years.

Arista suggests there are three categories of network automation: do-it-yourself, DevOps and turnkey. Ferro says that CloudVision caters to all of these use cases.

Ferro says CloudVision appears to be an extremely compatible controller, citing its integration with other vendors' tools.

"I like the way Arista has painted the controller landscape here and highlighted that there are many approaches to SDN controllers," Ferro added.

As Arista was late to the software-defined networking (SDN) market, it needs to carve its niche quickly, but Ferro believes its timing may have helped it avoid the mistakes competitors have previously made.

Ferro praised CloudVision's rollback feature, which stores snapshots of previous network states. This enables a network administrator who might make a switch configuration error to roll back to a previous state, thus eliminating the chance that the error would affect the entire network. Ferro also says that Arista's software emphasis and product quality help reassure that CloudVision will work as planned.

CloudVision is available now and supports all Arista EOS devices

Read the rest of Ferro's review of CloudVision here.

SD-WAN more effective in finding best path

In a recent post on his blog, networking expert Ethan Banks explains the advantages of software-defined WAN when computing best path. When determining best path, routing protocols consider factors that include hop count, bandwidth, cost and delay. Banks writes that while traditional best path thinking is effective, it has limitations.

Chief among them, Banks says, is that protocols are engineered to route packets and not application flows. With SD-WAN, best path is computed on what's best for the application. SD-WAN also factors real-time link events such as congestion into the equation. Traditional best path computing doesn't take events like these into account.

Generally, only high-bandwidth links are used to carry traffic because low-bandwidth links are not included in best path. With SD-WAN, all links have some value and can be used, no matter their bandwidth.

Banks writes that SD-WAN uses a much more complex metric to compute best path.

Read the entire post here.  

Testing out OpenFlow with Brocade ICX 7450

Network architect Nick Buraglio tested OpenFlow on the Brocade ICX 7450 data center switch using Brocade's Vyatta controller with the goal of Layer 2 path provisioning and detailed it on The Forwarding Plane blog.

He writes that the ICX 7450 requires at least version 08.0.30aa of the firmware to support OpenFlow, and the code it shipped with did not support it. Buraglio says that disabling secure sockets layer (SSL) is a necessity in order for OpenFlow to run quickly. He writes, "OpenFlow wants to use SSL by default. When configuring this it failed in a way that is not intuitive at all." Buraglio also notes that he would never recommend disabling SSL in a production environment.

Buraglio encountered frustrations while running the test, including situations where the Brocade ICX randomly rebooted while attempting to secure copy the boot loader code. Buraglio also wrote that the ICX stopped responding to secure shell and the only way to recover was to reboot.

Read Buraglio's recap of the test here.

Next Steps

Arista chosen as data center networking leader

Brocade announces ICX 7450

Arista announces software version of CloudVision

Dig Deeper on Software-defined networking