I find myself talking about SDN more and more referring to myself as SDN optimist insinuating there are many pessimists out there. Why do I sense that? I’m a network guy at heart and can’t imagine the past few years without reading about the future of networking and at the same time have learned a lot in other areas of the data center and IT. It’s time to start doing. That goes for all of us. Hopefully those that are “anti” realize controllers don’t have to be all that bad and they can benefit everyone – not just the large scale networks.
How about we focus on network operations and a unified point of application integration first?
Controllers aren’t new.
In the world of wireless, if one wants to write an application for location based services or RFID, it is integrated with the WLAN controller, not to each AP. The controller has APIs. It’s a layer of abstraction.
In the world of voice communication, if one wants to write a slick Unified Communications application for E911 or whatever else, it is integrated with the IP PBX – Call Manager if you will. It’s a unified point of integration and has northbound APIs.
In the world of server virtualization, if one wants to integrate with applications for DR, storage replication, etc., today it is largely integrated with a hypervisor manager such as the vCenter server in a VMware deployment. It’s a layer of abstraction and a unified point of integration that by the way, has API integration.
If one wanted to write an application into the network, would we call on human middle ware to try or wish there was an easier way?
Controllers are a good thing. If fact, they are great thing. We don’t need to extract all of the intelligence from network devices, but at the very least, let’s extract enough where we have controllers to simplify the management of the network and enable applications to be written on top. If that goes as planned, maybe we can take the next step and extract *some* control plane protocols.
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