Written by Dan Pitt
Dan Pitt is Executive Director of the Open Networking Foundation, joining on its public launch in March 2011.
Software defined network adoption has been rapidly increasing as businesses define a set of new needs in the light of technological growth. The software defined network adopters can be broken down into two categories: the first adopters, who have been trailblazers by building hardware-based software defined networks, and the rest of the crowd, who are catching up and learning from these first adopters.
There are sort of two broad categories of adopters here. There are the real, bleeding-edge adopters, that have gone whole hog and built hardware-based SDN, and there's sort of everybody else, that is learning from them, learning to trust that this is a good technology, but not feasible for them to do that. What we're seeing in the mass market is mostly overlay solutions and less, you know, hop-by-hop, OpenFlow hardware switch based solutions. That's really because there haven't been as many products on the market. We had a surge three years ago with OpenFlow 1.0. Two years ago, but to get chips to support OpenFlow 1.3 multiple tables, really a lot of features, that's just starting to appear now.
We're just going to be announcing this fall our conformance testing and results for that and so you'll see more products on the market and make it more feasible. For campuses, they're going to need that, because they run these networks. Even if they put their applications in the cloud, they have to get to the cloud. I think we'll see a lot more underlay networks, I've heard some people say, "Okay, overlays were a great way to start, but it doesn't meet my fundamental need and so I'm going to build real SDN hardware-based switching platform networks, using OpenFlow as a standard protocol."