Rethinking the Network

Michael Bushong

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Top Stories by Michael Bushong

We are a few short days away from the biggest spectacle in sports – the Super Bowl. It is impossible to avoid talk this week of Peyton Manning, the Denver Broncos, the Seattle Seahawks, and the NFL in general. But does the NFL have anything to teach tech industries? The NFL is a massively successful franchise by almost any measure. Despite a rash of recent scandals including a pay-for-injury bounty program and a major law suit and settlement tied to concussions, the league continues to grow its fan base – both in the US and abroad – while raking in record numbers of viewers and revenue. At the heart of the NFL’s resilience when it comes to scandal and its seemingly bottomless pit of revenues is an uncanny to reinvent itself. In fact, it is the NFL’s overall position on its own evolution that has secured its place at the top of the entertainment pantheon. Instant Re... (more)

Plexxi Pulse – Celebrating Valentine’s Day with Abstractions

One month from today, Plexxi’s Nils Swart and Derick Winkworth will participate in SDNCentral’s DemoFriday to illustrate application abstraction using OpenDaylight. We encourage you to register here and check out the demo on March 14 at 10 a.m. PDT.  In our video of the week, Dan Bachman discusses how the Plexxi switching solution makes use of a fabric control protocol and explains whether there are any changes to how this works in a pod architecture. Here is our video of the week and a few of my reads in the Plexxi Pulse – enjoy!     Leveraging Python on Network Devices to M... (more)

Abstracting vs Ignoring

There’s a running meme in networking that has caught a lot of momentum with SDN: abstraction. Just about every vendor these days has bold ambitions to abstract out the complexity. There are APIs, abstraction layers, and architectural shims that all aim to hide complexity from the user. But what does that really mean? The primary goal of abstraction is to break something down into its most essential elements. You then expose only those parts that require end-user participation (think: configuration knobs, for example). Ideally, a small set of relatively well-understood parameters... (more)

The Key to OpenDaylight Adoption: Salespeople

The primary indicator of success is success. That is to say that the number one thing people look to as a predictor of future performance is past performance. In the product space, this means that things like adoption are important as much for what it signals to other people as they are for bottom line revenues. And this is true even in the open source world. As SDN speeds its way towards mainstream adoption, this means that projects like OpenDaylight will need to establish early on that they are not only deployable but also deployed. Open source adoption People frequently point... (more)

Silicon: Merchant vs. Outsourced

If you talk to folks in the networking industry about switching hardware, you probably don't get more than a few sentences in before you hear the words merchant silicon, typically followed closely by commodity hardware. There is some confusion in the dialogue about these topics, and I think it stems from a lack of clarity around why this matters and how silicon development actually works. Let's start with why merchant silicon matters. When people talk about merchant silicon, most of the time they fail to really clearly specify what it is they want. There are basically two reasons... (more)