software defined networking or why openflow is not enough

using our new blogging platform, i just published short piece about just announced onePK. i’m watching live discussions for over two years now about network control capabilities. i was one of those distanced guys when it comes to OpenFlow “explosion” in popularity. and as time did show - i was right. today even hardware vendors suddenly slowed down a bit and distance themselves from new standard versions, and development tempo also falls down. more and more of these that believed supporting OpenFlow will suddenly change their support model and feature set - start to understand thats hardly true. some of them even decided to abandon this direction altogether.

of course SDN concept of building main control system to orchestrate centralized forwarding decisions for networking didn’t worked out in real world, it needs to be understood that OpenFlow is just a beginning. beginning of long journey that should decouple software from hardware, and at the same time build interfaces that will make both sides interchangeable. of course, marketing trying to drive sales will try to enchant reality and bind it. however, we in the OpenFlow interest group - like Ivan Pepelnjak and Greg Ferro - believe that good solution will defend itself.

i’m worried that closed solution integrated closely with hardware will still be limited - opening just interface is still not enough to achieve true interoperability. just like with dualism on smart phone market - with iOS and Android you have choice. OpenFlow isn’t an alternative we were waiting for, and is so narrowly focused - it can’t get universal adoption.

we’ll see where we will be in couple of years. Cisco is working on keeping compatibility on API level with OpenFlow. but it seems that just after 18 months OpenFlow is gone and there are like 18 different competing and “open” “standards”.

we’re living in interesting times. IPv6, more and more software - hopefully we won’t get lost in all of it :)