As I have been exploring in my blog series about how IBM puts the Software in Software Defined Networking with a new class of “SDNware,” IBM’s is collaborating with our clients and partners to tap innovation under development at our IBM Research division and as exemplified by IBM’s Smarter Cities initiative. LINK TO: http://www.ibm.com/smarterplanet/us/en/smarter_cities/overview/ For example, our IBM Research division has been optimizing algorithms to define auto navigation routes on road infrastructures with changing parameters and different user requirements such as lowest distance or shortest time. These algorithms are similar to those for data networks that require moving information on a dynamic infrastructure with applications that have different requirement such as low latency or high bandwidth.
IBM’s Smarter Cities innovation applies apply a global view or map of the transportation network based on historical data, analyze traffic patterns and anticipate congestion to route or distribute automobiles across many possible route. This is an apt analogy to the power of SDN to apply the right network security at the right place and time using predictive analysis software to detect potential networking threats. And, to adapt the network with a new breed of SDN-driven security tools to ultimately prevent security breaches before they happen.
However, in even the brightest future of Smarter Cities, many types of automobiles still must travel the open road – north, south, east and west. Much like roads, highways and interchanges are evolving, it is truly a new world in Software Defined Networking. In this finally open arena of SDN -- customers expect a new breed of networks that are open to innovation from third-party application and interoperable across data centers and network topologies. What’s more and most vitally, these networks must be able to function without modification using multiple vendors’ networking gear.
Looking back for a moment, anyone who has experienced the splintered forks of the Unix operating systems – where an application must be compiled and re-compiled to support multiple operating systems running on diverse hardware platforms – knows full well that Software Defined Networking cannot follow that multi-variant path.
Because the Software in Software Defined Networking must be truly open and interoperable to work across existing networks, topologies and infrastructure equipment, IBM believes it’s in everyone’s best interest to open networking software and hardware platforms to the world – so everyone can contribute – especially those with applications knowledge – resulting in ever more responsive, simplified and adaptive system networks.
CUTTABLE: To avert the Unix “multi-variant” problem from throttling the advance of SDN and open the SDN ecosystem to applications and third-party software developers, IBM and other industry leaders are championing the OpenDaylight project and working through the Linux Foundation to achieve its meritorious goals of open collaboration. LINK TO: http://www.opendaylight.org. For example, one of the missions of OpenDaylight is to provide a standard SDN controller framework with an open API so anyone can develop “SDNware” and deploy this network-aware software on an OpenDayLight compliant controller. This is essential so that vital and so-called “northbound” network interfaces are open & interoperable with major data center and network orchestration platforms.
As many enterprises, institutions and IBM partners are adjusting their roadmaps for the SDN journey ahead, the importance of focusing on open, interoperable and multi-vendor approaches is paramount. Network switches are rapidly standardizing on SDN’s standard OpenFlow APIs. Controllers are converging toward the OpenDaylight framework. The bottom-line imperative for implementing SDN lies in Software – the new class of “SDNware” that arguably only a Software Defined Networking approach can enable. Whether it’s for SDN or Network Functions Virtualization (NFV), the open road and the Smarter Cities of the future are likely the best analogies for the territory ahead and your decision to tap the Software in Software Defined Networking.
Are open, interoperable and multi-vendor important values for your own Software Defined Networking journey?
P.S.: At the Dawn of Open Networking and as Software Defined Networking Takes Off, IBM is leading the charge to improve the responsiveness and flexibility of networks, helping data centers deliver the business velocity needed for today’s world. Please visit IBM System Networking at www.ibm.com/networking, where you’ll find a wealth of Open, Virtual and Software Defined Networking resources.