"It could also be used to allow energy savings by identifying underused devices and shut them down when they are not needed," Shimel blogs.
He notes that with the strong backing, its chance of success might seem pretty high. But Shimel also states that other widely supported standards efforts have been derailed before.
"Microsoft and even Cisco are well known for 'embracing and extending' such standards to make them less than globally interoperable," Shimel blogs. "However, with so many lined up behind this one, I don't think that will be the case here. At least I hope not."
OpenFlow was demonstrated late last year at the ninth GENI Engineering Conference (GEC9) in Washington, D.C. NEC was showing off its implementation, and an OpenFlow switch startup, Big Switch Networks, recently received almost $14 million in funding.
An open-source switch company called Pica8 also plans to include it in its products for data centers and cloud-computing environments. Those are two areas that could benefit immediately from OpenFlow, Shenker says, due to the proliferation of virtual machines in those environments.
"The data center market will be first, where people have the most pain," he says. "It's a place where this technology is needed the most."
Read more about lan and wan in Network World's LAN & WAN section.