Like the rest of the SDN community, we at SDNCentral are looking forward to next week’s Open Networking Summit (ONS). The ONS is viewed by many to be the grandaddy of all SDN conferences. It was certainly the first one to focus exclusively on SDN. And while we’re seeing many other conferences pop up with SDN content, it’s the largest focused conference on SDN. Last year saw a sell-out crowd and this year promises to be the same. With over a thousand SDN enthusiasts converging on the Santa Clara Convention Center (because it has outgrown the Marriott), you can imagine the level of excitement within the community. At SDNCentral, we’ve seen a flurry of activity with numerous vendors rushing to make their PR mark with press and analysts before ONS, and we know of numerous others scheduling releases and launches for next week.
Given all the buzz and potential hype, if you’re going to ONS 2013, what’s new and worth looking? Matt and I will publish a couple of short posts before ONS to express our views on what to expect and focus on. In the meantime, here’s a couple of new events this year worth checking out.
The first is SDN Idol at ONS, which we broke the news on some weeks back. SDN Idol is modeled on American Idol (no surprise), and is open to all the ONS exhibitors. It’s a product-based competition, judged on a couple of key attributes including business and technology value, novelty and SDN chutzpah. We’re waiting to see who the 5 finalists will be on Apr 15th–too late to put an SDNCentral betting pool together on the winners unfortunately, perhaps next year. On the evening of Apr 16th, the 5 finalists will make a live presentation at ONS, in an event emceed by SDNCentral’s own Matt and me. I’m definitely looking forward to seeing the live presentations and will be holding my breath to figure out who the audience will vote for as the winner. If you’ll be at ONS, come and meet us at the event and lend some support to your favorite finalists!
Along with SDN Idol, we also have a new plug-fest–reminiscent of the original plug-fests at Interop in the good ole days of networking. What, a plug-fest, you say? Is it going to be OpenFlow-only? What about the fact that there are so many SDN protocols? All good questions, so we put them to the plugfest team, made up of some well-known names in the SDN community:
- Nicholas Bastin – Big Switch Networks
- Johan van Reijendam – Stanford Univerisity
- Bill Johnson – Tallac Networks
- Matt Davy – Tallac Networks
- Paul Congdon – Tallac Networks
Here’s what we got back:
- Q: What’s the goal and driver behind this plugfest?
A: The goal is to continue to show products of operational value to ONS attendees.
- Q: What do you plan on showcasing at the plugfest? Is it OpenFlow centric or does it over SDN in general?
A: While the ONS Demo Lab is open to non-OpenFlow SDN vendors, OpenFlow is the most common multi-vendor SDN control plane protocol in use.
- Q: Given that there are numerous approaches to SDN and different protocols, does it make sense to “plug” different vendors together? How do you plan on achieving that?
A: A key advantage to SDN is separating the control and data planes of your networking hardware so that you can use products from different vendors for each of those purposes. “Plugging” different vendors together in the Demo Lab shows to attendees that this isn’t just talk – it’s a viable deployment option today.
- Q: What interesting frameworks can we expect to see in this plugfest? What types of end-user problems will these frameworks attempt to solve?
A: You’ll have to come to the Demo Lab to see. There are definitely going to be some individually interesting products outside of the typical switch and controller space, as well as some compelling multi-vendor demos.
- Q: Can you share who will be participating in the plugfest? Are you still looking for participants?
A: We are always open to more participants (barring space and power limitations of course) but of course time is of the essence so we expect that it’s unlikely any new vendors will sign on at this point. At this point, we have a good list of vendors including Big Switch, Centec, Dell, FlowForwarding.org, HP, Huawei, Mellanox, NEC, ON.lab, Overture, Pica8 and Radware.
And there you have it–looks like we have no choice but to show up at the Demo Lab at ONS to see what’s really going on with the Plug-Fest. I for one, am planning on digging into what can be achieved across multiple vendors with the SDN frameworks available today. Let’s see what’s hype and what’s reality!