Software-Defined Networks Just Want to Get Along
Software-defined networks ( #SDN s), an approach that allows networks to be controlled more methodically and with more agility than before, represent a huge change for carriers, service providers and the organizations that they serve. Both the reengineered networking infrastructure and the transition phase that must first be traversed are complex, however. That is, indeed, something of an understatement. An important step toward dealing with that complexity, and easing that transition, was taken this week. The University of New Hampshire InterOperability Laboratory (UNH-IOL) announced the launch of the Software-Defined Networking Consortium. The consortium, UNH-IOL says, will provide interoperability, conformance and benchmark testing: Application and controller vendors, network operators, user groups, data centers and others can all benefit from a one-stop, collaborative shop for SDN testing that reduces the risk of applications not working with a particular switch, makes the management and deployment process run more smoothly and accelerates time to market. Interoperability testing is vital. Standards are very important but, no matter how detailed they are, variables can prevent different vendors’ equipment from working together seamlessly. Testbeds such as the one being established in New Hampshire are an important part of the process of finding and eliminating those flies in the ointment. The SDN Consortium, which will officially launch on August 1, will test SDN applications and controllers against switches, no matter which standard or approach they follow. Interoperability testing will start immediately, with conformance and benchmarking to follow. The idea of making it easier for different vendors to work in the same SDN environment drove another announcement. At Cisco Live!, Glue Networks said that it is updating is Gluware offering to offer more flexible deployments: With this enhancement, network engineers can automate their brownfield multi-vendor network architectures, while providing enterprises with unprecedented control, security and awareness of the network state. Gluware is now available in both cloud-based and on-prem versions for large enterprises that require a behind-the-firewall implementation.