Written by Jennifer Lin
Prior to joining Juniper through the acquisition of Contrail Systems, Jennifer was a member of the early team and VP, Product Management at Contrail Systems, where she led the product management and marketing activities.
Software defined networks present a dramatic shift in the landscape of the entire IT industry. Along with this shift comes pressing concerns, A lot of the questions center around the rate of change that has been created through the new technology, and how the concept of interdependency has now changed within the entire ecosystem.
A lot of the questions that are coming up around SDN are what are the key differentiators across the alternative approaches. One of the things that I mentioned earlier around open flow initially being sort of a way to programmatically control networks, in the data center now, if you look at the way a lot of the large data center providers and cloud builders are building it, they're not using things like open flow to programmatically control network environments. A lot of the questions are, initially, around different technology options, but I think one of the biggest questions is, ... it's a pretty significant change that's going on in the IT industry and the networking industry, where things are much more codependent on each other. The rate of change, number one, but also the interdependency creates a much different ecosystem environment.
Having one vendor that sort of enables the entire vertical solution, which was kind of the old model of IT, is not the way that SDN and a lot of the discussions around cloud are going, where it's a very horizontal, layered approach to different aspects of the infrastructure. A lot of the challenges, though, are non-technical. Because this is a lot of change for IT and network teams, a lot of the issues around how do various functional groups interact and make sure that they're sort of dealing with a converged infrastructure with, whether they're API driven interfaces or whatever, where there's sort of a central source of truth in terms of the information, and people have role-based access into that controller data or monitoring or management or automation infrastructure set of data.