SDNCentral volunteers continue to be hard at work, busily taking notes onsite at the Open Networking Summit. Here are today’s highlights:
Highlight #1: The Google OpenFlow network is in Production
Urs Hoelzle from Google disclosed the deployment of OpenFlow in Google’s internal datacenter WAN network. Built on an in-house 128x10G chassis using merchant silicon, Google has a central traffic engineering controller that manages high bandwidth flows through their production network. They are able to optimize routing based on application priority and global flow placement, resulting in better QoS awareness and differentiation among applications, with more predictable latency, response to loss or failure, bandwidth, and deadline sensitivity. Congratulation to the Google team for demonstrating that OpenFlow is ready for prime time!
Highlight #2: SDN startups describe limitations of SDNs
In contrast to Google’s experience, the top SDN startups, Nicira and BigSwitch both warned of limitations in the useful domain of SDN applications. Nicira focused on the value of using OpenFlow within the server-based virtual switch, particularly to initiate and terminate tunnels, but recommended using L3 to manage the hardware-based network infrastructure, or fabric interconnect. BigSwitch stated that customers prefer to develop lightweight apps on an existing controller rather than develop full-fledged control plane protocols. They believe that the value of SDNs come with openness, allowing integration with cloud orchestration tools, integrating VM-based firewalls such as vArmour, and abstracting the potential complexity of mixed physical/virtual server environments.
Highlight #3: Innovation on OpenFlow alive and well in academia
Princeton, Cornell, Georgia Tech, and Tsinghua University all presented recent research and innovation to extend the concepts of OpenFlow to solve higher-level problems around service abstraction, configuration updates, event handling, and IPv6 source address validation. OpenFlow switches enable research that can be validated in real-world networks, a domain previously difficult to operate within.
Highlight #4: Major switch vendors on-board, realistic expectations
NEC, Dell, and Extreme Networks all presented at the conference, describing the potential opportunities as well as clearly expressing the ecosystem challenges that need to be overcome, from silicon to application. Still, even before there’s an SDN App Store, the exhibit area was packed with interested vendors, customers, and academics. There’s a real buzz here, and clearly the potential to transform the future of networking.
Highlight #5: Igor is looking for his pony
Yes, the Yahoo! architect has found an expanding universe of switch vendors willing to open their Unix-based infrastructure APIs to customers, allowing utilization of tools developed for the VM world such as Chef and Puppet. He can now deploy agents on switches to automate health checking and repair, communicating with a central management controller. This means his network can scale manageably – a huge step forward in a world with 20k servers and 400k VMs per cluster. All he needs now to be truly happy is a pony!