Spoiler alert: There’s a lot of Juniper in our list of top headlines for 2014.
So before we kick off the SDx scene of 2015, here’s a look back at the top news stories of 2014, ranked in terms of page views. We swear we didn’t choose the order — analytics don’t lie (except when there’s a glitch, and we’ve detected no false readings).
10. Affirmed Networks: Who Are These Guys, Anyway?
News of AT&T‘s first Domain 2.0 picks were a highlight of Mobile World Congress in February. (More about Domain 2.0 below.) Among the surprises: AT&T really meant it when it said Domain 2.0 was about adding startups to the carrier’s supplier list. Hence, the inclusion of Affirmed Networks, a startup working on an NFV version of LTE’s evolved packet core. Read more.
9. Alcatel-Lucent Pins Its Future on a ‘Reverse Takeover’
But CEO Michel Combes, who took over in 2013, says the days of perpetual restructuring are done. Back in November, Combes positioned AlcaLu for a new phase of innovation, a culture patterned after that of TiMetra, arguably the best networking acquisition in history. Read more.
8. OpenFlow 2.0 Could Bring New Flexibility to Switches
OpenFlow 2.0 doesn’t exist yet, but one possible shape of the protocol — a more flexible take on packet switching — has started to form under the guidance of Nick McKeown, Jennifer Rexford, and other well known researchers in SDN. When we checked in, the plan involved even more flexible switches that Barefoot Networks was trying to invent, and Stanford University was looking at how to make it all work. Read more.
7. Cisco Slims Its SDN Story Down to ONE Controller
Cisco started crafting a new approach that turned products into software licenses and put SDN and network policy front-and-center in three major areas: the WAN, the data center, and the access network. Policy became the heart of Cisco’s SDN strategy as it honed the message to one where SDN reigned and policy loomed over all. Read more.
6. Juniper to Lay Off 570 and Drop That Riverbed Idea
Layoffs aren’t anything to celebrate, though it was a little relieving to hear only 6 percent of Juniper’s workforce would be laid off, compared to the 8 to 10 percent (800 people) that SDNCentral had heard about in March. (The 800-layoff rumor would have made No. 8 on this list, but we chose to give Juniper a break and mention layoffs only once.) Read more.
5. Time for an SDN Sequel? Scott Shenker Preaches SDN Version 2
Considering this published two months ago — and rehashed thoughts Shenker has been presenting for at least a year — snagging the No. 5 spot on our list is a pretty big deal for this concept. Which is good, because it’s an idea worth hearing.
Scott Shenker — who, along with Nick McKeown and Martin Casado at Stanford University, and others, developed OpenFlow and the ideas behind SDN in the mid/late 2000s — has been working with other researchers (including McKeown again) on a set of technologies that he was calling SDNv2.
Shenker expressed disappointment that SDN has matured so slowly. SDNv2 which would still separate the control and data planes and aim for programmatic control of the network, bows to some lessons learned the first time around. Whether the idea gains traction is a story to watch in 2015. Read more.
4. AT&T’s John Donovan Is Serious About This Domain 2.0 Thing
Donovan, AT&T’s senior executive vice president of technology and network operations, used the Open Networking Summit to candidly explain how strongly domain 2.0 was intended to change AT&T. Yes, he’s serious about this stuff. Read more.
3. Cisco Submits Its (Very Different) SDN to IETF & OpenDaylight
The policy engine at the heart of Cisco‘s software-defined networking strategy went open-source on the SDN scene. Why? It’s simple. The Application Policy Infrastructure Controller (APIC) needed someone to talk to. Don’t we all?
With it’s policy-based architecutre, Cisco’s Application-Centric Infrastructure (ACI) differs heavily from what most of the industry had been discussing as “SDN” at the time. So, Cisco is contributing pieces of it to organizations such as the OpenDaylight Project, hoping to start a policy revolution. For the record, group-based policy made it into the OpenDaylight Helium release, while the OpFlex interface for communicating policy did not. Read more.
2. Juniper Sells Junos Pulse
Siris Capital bought Junos Pulse for $250 million. Wow, “way to go Juniper,” we thought until we considered Junos Pulse originated with the $265 million acquisition of Neoteris. Not as great of a return, especially when the deal culminated in 2003.
The loss of Junos Pulse was immaterial to third-quarter revenues, Juniper CFO Robyn Denholm said on an earnings call back in July. When asked whether Pulse actually made money, Denholm said it was “mildly accretive for us over the years” but didn’t fit Juniper’s longer-term strategy. Read more.
1. Juniper’s SDN Approach Created a Rift in Engineering
Yes, Juniper took three — actually four — of our Top Stories spots this year. All press is good press, right?
Juniper’s big changes in 2014 included the hiring and firing of CEO Shaygan Kheradpir — who reportedly had fired up the Juniper employee base and made a favorable impression at Mobile World Congress.
Of course, there were dissenting opinions that employees were in the predictable layoff mode, fretting about what was going to happen while still trying to go about their daily jobs. (See above.)
Prior to any of that, though, there was intrigue behind Contrail Systems, a 2013 acquisition that brought Juniper into the SDN age. Just how it happened, and why CTO Pradeep Sindhu’s subsequent actions insulted so many Juniper engineers and programmers, made for our most-viewed story of the year. Read more.
Other top stories that just missed the cut: