November 10, 2013, 6:17 PM — The recent Open Networking User Group (ONUG) meeting in New York City attracted 400 participants, some of whom attended in-depth tutorial sessions about software defined networking (SDN) on day one, and others that stayed for the members-only closed door sessions on day two (vendors and press excluded). Network World Editor in Chief John Dix caught up with Nick Lippis, who co-founded the SDN user group with representatives from Fidelity Investments, for his assessment of what was learned.
What was your takeaway from the recent meeting?
There were a bunch, but one of the big ones I walked away with is that, when we met last February there was a lot of the discussion about physical switches being controlled by controllers using OpenFlow. Now the thinking has shifted to overlay networks and white boxes and Linux automation. When I asked the audience how many are implementing the OpenFlow-based approach on physical switches, I think only one person raised their hand. So that is a major shift in terms of how this community is starting to wrap their minds around which technologies they're focusing on.
And there was a shift in timeframes, too. We have some real big stakes in the ground around piloting now and into 2014, with deployment in 2015. So it only makes sense that we're seeing all the vendor announcements this year, and those will ramp during 2014 as the number of pilots increase, and then as you transition from pilots to deployments you'll start to have market share starting to be locked in. So I think we're at an acceleration point.
A lot of the folks I talked to say they're not going to do a kind of hybrid approach, a little bit here and a little bit there. They're going to get the pilots done as soon as they feel they have the skill sets, then they're going to go for some pretty big deployments.
Does the shift you mention the lack of focus on OpenFlow now, for example represent a potential stumbling block for the movement? There was, after all, so much effort on that front.