I don’t typically don’t blog about product announcements, but there are occasions where it makes sense (e.g., Cisco and Citrix RISE to the ADC Occasion). This week, there was another cool announcement along these lines from HP and KEMP Technologies.
Like the Cisco/Citrix RISE technology, this eases integration between network switches and Application Delivery Controllers (ADC). You can read the press release for details on what KEMP calls “SDN Adaptive”, but here’s my quick take: The HP/KEMP integration pumps lower-level network switching information (such as switchport utilization) learned via the HP SDN controller into the ADC via API. This information can then be incorporated into the ADC’s balancing algorithm and consequently be used to better distribute application traffic between back-end servers. For example, it could facilitate the ADC to stop sending traffic to a webserver attached to an over-saturated switchport. Ultimately, this can supplement existing algorithms already present in the ADC and is a nifty little feature.
However this functionality by itself isn’t necessarily blog-worthy, instead what makes this cool is it represents an incremental and tangible value afforded in a software-defined network architecture. The barrier to entry is relatively low to implement this, it doesn’t require a major overhaul to your physical or virtual infrastructure. Existing KEMP ADC customers can leverage this with limited investment. So you could feasibly roll this out for just 1 app and it isn’t a massive undertaking. In other words, you don’t have to buy $100K+ of new switching hardware and/or upgrade all your hypervisors/vSwitches to a new release. I would expect KEMP to deliver this feature to additional controllers in the future (the beauty of SDN; have code will port it), such as OpenDaylight, which could further lower the entry cost.
In addition, this is easy to grasp conceptually which is in contrast to the typical benefits touted for SDN, which are usually of the longer-term and ethereal variety (i.e., improved agility and long-term innovation). While very true, these macro-layer benefits are hard to align with existing network infrastructures, leaving many networking practitioners wondering why/where/how to begin and consequently quite skeptical of the SDN hype. Along these lines, we have published research aimed at mainstream enterprise to identify a pragmatic, incremental approach to adopting SDN (Mainstream Organisations Should Prepare for SDN Now), and we are also currently working on research to further illustrate the value of SDN (Wanted: Real-World SDN Case-Studies).
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