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April 30, 2013

Openflow inventor admits SDN is hype

Filed under: Networking — Tags: — Nate @ 8:25 am

The whole SDN thing has bugged me for a long time now. The amount of hype behind it has driven me mad. I have asked folks to explain to me what SDN is, and I have never really gotten a good answer. I have a decent background in networking but it’s never been my full time responsibility (nor do I wish it to be).

I am happy to report that it seems I am not crazy. Yesterday I came across an article on slashdot from the inventor of Openflow, the same guy that sold his little networking startup Nicira for a cool $1.2B (and people thought HP paid too much for 3PAR).

He admits he doesn’t know what SDN is either anymore.

Reading that made me feel better 🙂

On top of that our friends over at El Reg recently described SDN as an industry “hype gasm”. That too was refreshing to see. Finally more people are starting to cut through the hype.

I’ve always felt that the whole SDN thing that is going on is entirely too narrow in vision – seemingly to be focused almost entirely on switching & routing.  Most of the interesting stuff happens higher up in the advanced layer 7 load balancing where you have more insight as to what is actually traversing the wire from an application perspective.

I have no doubt that the concepts behind SDN will be/are very useful for massive scale service providers and such (though somehow they managed without it as it is trying to be defined now anyway). I don’t see it as very useful for most of the rest of organizations, unlike say virtualized storage.

I cringed badly when I first saw the term software defined storage last year, it just makes me shudder as to the amount of hype people might try to pump into that. HP seems to be using this term more and more often. I believe others are too, though I can’t bring myself to google the term.

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