Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols
Best Argument: Hype
Audience Favored: Hope (56%)
Destined to be another unfulfilled promise
Robin Harris: Of course SDN is hype. Yes, there is a good idea: separating data and control planes, and making the control plane an open software product.
But the bottom line is that while SDN may be good for customers, it isn't in the interest of the large switch vendors. They have a thousand ways to sabotage OpenFlow while at the same time pointing to their "progress" in making SDN a reality.
SDN is a wonderful idea. Many startups will emerge to enable it. But it goes against the switch and router vendor's commercial interests and it will fail.
I saw this same process decade ago with SANS. Once the fog of hype clears, SDN will be another unfulfilled promise.
SDN holds networking's future
Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols: If you're about networking -- and in today's IT world how can you not be? -- then just as surely as IPv6 lies in your future so does Software Defined Networking (SDN).
It's really very simple. As the Open Networking Foundation says, SDN brings direct software programmability to networks. Typically this is done with the OpenFlow protocol, but other protocols can be used.
With this ability, you can use SDN to centrally manage and monitor your network across not just routers and switches from a single vendor but across any networking hardware that implements standardized SDN protocols. For network administrators this enables them to create efficient virtual networks that are independent from physical networks.
This, in turn, means for the CFO that a company's network infrastructure can be used more affordably. Thus, SDN, which now has broad industry support—even Cisco has finally jumped on -board, is a win-win both for the CIO and the CFO.
SDN won't arrive overnight. There's too much legacy equipment. Still, with advantages for both the technicians and the bottom line, it will come.