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After OpenFlow World Congress, analyst questions open source

In this week's blogs roundup, we take a closer look at the challenges of open source projects, the growing pool of SD-WAN suppliers and Riverbed's Project Tiger.

After the OpenFlow World Congress in Dusseldorf, Germany, one blogger shared some misgivings about open source. Mike Fratto, an analyst at IT firm Current Analysis, says that in spite of the hype, open source poses real challenges for SDN vendors. Fratto shared his thoughts following an OpenFlow World Congress panel, at which two experts commented that open source SDN development isn't necessarily better or faster.

Vendors who have committed to use open source find themselves at the mercy of open source project timelines, Fratto writes. A vendor may even miss important launch or deployment deadlines because an open source project is taking longer than expected. In Fratto's view, this is problematic for vendors, because they are still "on the hook" to deliver products, patches and updates to their customers. This tension could discourage some companies from signing on to open source projects.

See more of what Fratto has to say about his observations from the OpenFlow World Congress.

Tallying SD-WAN vendors

It's no secret that SD-WAN is one of the hottest topics in networking today. SD-WAN abstracts network intelligence by building virtual overlays across physical infrastructure, allowing for more flexible and agile networks and easing wide area network (WAN) management woes. A wide variety of vendors has rushed to fill this gap in the marketplace, each offering its own take on the technology. Analyst and network manager Ethan Banks shares his view of the SD-WAN marketplace today in a recent post on the Packet Pushers blog.

Banks lists the SD-WAN vendors he has personally heard present on their products, including Cisco, CloudGenix, Nuage, Mushroom, Riverbed, Sonus, Talari, Viptela and VeloCloud. He also mentions a handful of other SD-WAN vendors he has not yet interviewed, including Citrix, FatPipe, Ocedo and Ecessa. While Banks notes that some companies are trying to disingenuously cash in on the SD-WAN craze, he says the above vendors appear to sell products or services that really do enable SD-WAN.

From Banks' standpoint, vendors with full SD-WAN offerings ("complete with forwarders, a policy controller and a traffic analytics engine") include CloudGenix and Silver Peak. Talari is notable, he writes, in that it started offering SD-WAN products and services before SD-WAN was the hot buzzword du jour. 

Some small providers have adopted more niche strategies, such as Citrix CloudBridge, which focuses on traffic optimization between office and cloud-based applications.

To read Banks' full post and his thoughts on each of the vendors listed, click here.

Riverbed retools for the SD-WAN marketplace

John Herbert, an author and analyst with Moving Packets, offers his take on the recent Riverbed announcement of Project Tiger. The Riverbed rollout includes a range of new technical features, including SteelOS replacing RiOS, containerization, service chaining, Zero Touch Provisioning (ZTP) and BGP/OSPF exchange routes.

In Herbert's view, Project Tiger signals a major step for Riverbed, noting, "In my opinion, it's far more likely that SteelOS will become the basis for the whole product family going forward." He adds that larger appliances equipped with solid state drives and extra RAM might replace the current generation of SteelHead. These new systems could be deployed at a branch office and brought online with zero touch provisioning.

Read more of what Herbert has to say about Riverbed's Project Tiger.

Next Steps

Surveys offer nuanced view of SD-WAN

How to weigh SD-WAN's attributes

A network ecosystem emerges built on open source


Dig Deeper on Software-defined networking