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Panel discusses SDN's fate as the future of networking

Posted: 27 Apr 2012 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:data center? SDN? networking? cloud computing?

"There are these other drivers such as Big Data, Hadoop type environments, the 'consumerization' of IT, mobility that are all now coming together, that together now drive a lot of change," said Mark Pearson chief technologist of HP Networking's data center and core, advanced technology group.

The role of the engineer
One fear in shifting to SDN was how will engineers be affected as the technology will enable customers to make configurations much more quickly, thus propagating mistakes much more quickly as well.

Pearson assured that, "The network engineer has a long time to live, so the network engineer does not go away. His particular job may change here, in which now they concentrate on policy in the network instead of device by device CLI. The other aspect is because the network becomes programmable, that the network engineer potentially takes on a job of programming policy."

"So there is actually maybe an expansion in the role of the network engineer, not a decline," he added.

Storage and the network
Pearson said, storage has a very unique service level requirement and there has to be a loss less nature, low latency, high throughput and portioning a network to carry converged infrastructure, storage and data. It is therefore very important to allocate the network to have those attributes. Pearson added that it's the introduction of the SDN central control plane which provides a great area to deploy this kind of policy.

Bateman added that open flow and SDN does not make any changes to the blocks of storage, but it's how it flows, and as you virtualize, and as you move your VMs from switch to switch, from data center to data center as your controller makes these changes."

How everything ties in
Pearson explained that the open flow aspects are coming from the Open Networking Foundation. The details are coming from a consortium companies that are trying to provide a degree of openness. He added that the delivery and interoperation of these open systems will self-govern the delivery.

Bateman noted that there is still a lot of development needed as what the industry currently has right now is SDN 1.0. He further noted that the change will be in the data center. Once it becomes commercial, then it becomes a value add and that is the differentiator.

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