I recently had the pleasure of attending the Open Networking User Group (ONUG) conference in New York City. See also http://opennetworkingusergroup.com. My thanks go to Tech Field Day for getting me there and providing some very interesting vendor discussions. The Tech Field Day website has a page dedicated to ONUG, where you can find links to blogs posted by the other attendees. I won’t repeat all those links here.
Two of my fellow attendees / delegates posted blogs about the event or part of the event already:
- Ethan Banks: Whitebox Switching: Would You? Should You?
- Matt Oswalt: Recap of ONUG Conference 2014
- Matt Oswalt: Open Networking User Group Conference 2014
I’ll admit to some latency in posting this blog … I had a couple of overly busy work weeks, which have now been treated and gone into remission. The good news is, that buys me time to read what others thought and respond. So you not only get our clever (at least occasionally?) banter on video but our more considered thoughts as well.
Overall, the event provided an interesting perspective and opened my eyes to a couple of vendors that were new to me. We had some stimulating conversations with vendors (see below). And I had some other good discussions with vendors, attended Kyle Mestery’s tutorial session on OpenStack Networking with Neutron, also Srini Seetharaman’s session Understanding SDN-based Network Virtualization. But I’m not going to talk about those here. It’d take too long!
I do have to agree with a point Matt made in his blog: I would have like to have been able to attend more of the “customer” sessions, to find out what various companies’ plans are around open networking and SDN. On the other hand, I can also understand the speakers and their companies for those sessions not wanting sensitive early thinking and strategic directions to somehow appear in print. Or e-print in a blog. I did
The video is available at http://vimeo.com/album/2863232/video/94448805.
I’d done some homework on Nuage Networks. The best resource I found was the Packet Pushers whitepaper, which provided a very useful introduction to Nuage. Prior to that, the official marketing material left me scratching my head a bit. Too vague, I need to see the framework, how the pieces fit together to grasp a new product. (Obligatory literary reference: “grok”.)
My summary: Nuage “basic” consists of a policy server (VSP) and controllers (VSCs). The VSP provides a policy directory, which is called the VSD. Optionally, they provide a hardware Virtualized Services Gateway to connect virtualized and non-virtualized datacenter resources. With VRS, virtual routing and switching.
You configure the policy server with (surprise!) your policy. The comment was that Nuage’s policy capabilities are (my wording) roughly ACI plus some areas where they do more. The controllers are responsible for deploying the policy to the devices, physical and virtual, in the network. The bottom layer is OpenFlow (partial OpenFlow?) pushing instructions to the hypervisors. The hypervisors then overlay the physical network with tunnels (pick the flavor) to each other and (perhaps) to firewalls and other “edge” or special physical devices.
The presenter, Dmitri Stiliadis, also brought up a very intriguing side topic I’d like to explore in a future blog, that of short-lived containers that appear and vanish quickly where needed. See also the “fog computing” Cisco is now talking about in conjunction with Internet of Everything.
The video can be found at http://vimeo.com/album/2863232/video/94543395
GlueWare is an automation platform for deploying and managing IWAN environments like MPLS + DMVPN or dual DMVPN as WAN. (Should that be dualing DMVPN?). GlueWare can also reportedly manage security, QoS, and PfR intelligent path selection.
Glue Networks is partnered with Cisco, and is available off the Cisco Global Price List. I talked pricing and the pricing sounds interesting, quite possibly something you might consider affordable, and worth checking out.
The group’s collective thinking was that GlueWare is “practical”. Does that disqualify it as SDN? (I expect to hear more from Ethan Banks about this line of thought.)
There are some other startups in the space. Glue’s product works with Cisco routers and uses no extra hardware. It is focused on rapid deployment of an IWAN, as well as managing it and tweaking it (via cloud) after deployment. The rumor is that at some future point, large firms may be able to license the software to run internal control for security reasons.
Glue Networks right now is an automation product. I gather it will be more tightly integrated with ACI as that Cisco product evolves.
The video of this session is at http://vimeo.com/album/2863232/video/94546762
I’ll have to write about this later, when I have more time to review the video myself and firm up my response. I tend to agree with Ivan Pepelnjak that OpenFlow was an interesting first try at SDN but just lacks the right focus, and has other challenges (differing implementations, performance). I’m trying to keep an open mind on the subject. I keep coming back to flows and OpenFlow as bogging down in Too Much Info, far too focused on the underlying mechanism rather than policy, abstraction, and control.
Having said that, the HP partner Guardicore presentation showed an interesting possible use case, perhaps (my interpretation) using OpenFlow on only an edge switch or two, perhaps more comprehensively. Would a hybrid OpenFlow (default routing and switching, with ability to steer selected flows otherwise) be more viable, especially for the mostly specialized use cases I’ve seen so far?
Hashtags: #OpenStack #SDN #ONUG #ONUG2014 #GlueNetworks #NuageNetworks #HPNetworks #CiscoChampions