The network won’t fit in your head anymore

Triggered by a discussion with a customer yesterday, it occurred to me (again?) that network engineers are creatures of habit and control. We have strong beliefs of how networks should be architected, designed and build. We have done so for long times and understand it well. We have tweaked our methods, our tools, our configuration […]

Building a Plexxi Network

[This post is penned by Plexxi executive Bill Koss] Two months ago I read an interesting blog post by Greg Ferro titled “Cheap Network Equipment Makes a Better Data Centre.”  At Plexxi, I am the person who leads our sales team and I found the post interesting because I think there is a lot of […]

Integration across shared control planes

If the future of federated controllers is based on service layering, then how do multiple controllers manage the same device? Is there a requirement for state synchronization? Do they share information about device operation or configuration? Is there a need for controllers that are managing different aspects of the same device to be coordinated in […]

Controller federations: Cluster by proximity or service?

As SDN moves closer to large-scale deployments, the issue of controller scaling is becoming a hotter topic. The consensus seems to favor some form of distributed cluster environment, likely in the form of federated clusters. But how should these federations be formed? The first thing to think about is the blast radius for controllers. Even […]

SDN: Capability or Context?

Why is it that the definition of SDN continues to get debated? I think the definition of SDN remains a bit squishy. And while I am not entirely certain that it matters (people shouldn’t be buying SDN; they should be building networks), it is an interesting phenomenon, and understanding it better could help with the […]

Managing Tables in our new Virtual Reality

Networking really comes down to the art of managing tables and rules. In traditional networks, MAC addresses are inserted into tables using standard learning techniques.  When packets arrive, if the source MAC address is not known, it is added to the MAC forwarding table for that VLAN with the ingress interface as its destination. If […]

The Future of IT Infrastructure: Controllers of controllers?

One of the central tenets of software-defined networking (SDN) is the notion of separated control and forwarding planes. Architecturally, this separation manifests itself in most solutions through an SDN controller. Accordingly, as companies work through their SDN product strategies, they have to determine what role the SDN controller plays in their solution. There are three […]

Network virtualization: Size does matter

A little while ago I wrote about the differences between routing and switching, or probably more the difference between ethernet and IP forwarding. Then focus of that article was very much on the differences between the two from a forwarding hardware perspective. This article last week from Brent Salisbury triggered a bunch of additional thoughts around […]

Cisco, VMW, and ODP: Different strategies to win the network control battle

I wrote previously that one of the more under-discussed topics in our industry was battle for the Point of Control. But why exactly is this important? And what are the different strategies in play to win this coveted spot? First, the Point of Control for networks is where provisioning, monitoring, troubleshooting, and other operational tasks […]