The networking industry saw several interesting twists and turns in 2014, and here’s my cut at the top four (and related research). The true impact of these are much more longer-term in nature, and we’ll see them play out over the next several years.
#1 – Switching Disaggregation Catches on
Dell opened 2014 by announcing support to run Cumulus software on its switches, and later followed up with support for Big Switch software also. Juniper ended the year by announcing an OCP-compliant switch that runs JUNOS on white-box hardware. We are referring to this as “brite-box” switching and we anticipate there are several more mainstream vendors to follow suit. Related Research:
The Future of Data Center Network Switches Looks ‘Brite’ , http://www.gartner.com/document/2928517
#2 – SDN trickles into the mainstream
It is still very early days for SDN, but we are seeing a ton of interest and some tire kicking in the mainstream, and here are the results from audience polling at our recent data center conference versus last year.
|Where is your company regarding SDN?||Audience Polling at Gartner Data Center Conference|
|Thinking about SDN||57%||59%||2%|
|Evaluating SDN in non-production environment||18%||14%||-5%|
|Limited production deployment||5%||5%||0%|
|Significant deployment in production||0%||10%||10%|
|What is SDN?||20%||12%||-8%|
Despite the small sample size and selective audience, there are some trends to take away from this. I certainly don’t think 10% of the mainstream are doing SDN, in fact, I would estimate it is well under 1%. There are still less than 1000 mainstream deployments (SDN still trails Frame Relay in terms of paying customers). However this does show a slow/steady migration from lab evaluations towards production trials, and that more folks are familiar with the concept. Related Research:
Mainstream Organizations Should Prepare for SDN Now, http://www.gartner.com/docshare?resId=2685029
SDN Delivers Real-World Benefits in Mainstream Enterprises, http://www.gartner.com/document/2874018
Ask Your SDN Vendor Seven Key Questions Before You Buy, http://www.gartner.com/document/2863919
#3 – SDN hits the WAN
There’s certainly a need for improvements in the WAN and several vendors have applied SDN concepts to directly attack pain-points such as cost, complexity and performance. Several start-ups emerged including Viptela, CloudGenix, and Velocloud. In addition, Nuage extended their data center SDN solution to the WAN, while SilverPeak launched Unity which is based on SDN principals. Look for research coming in 2015 on this topic.
#4 – Cisco ships ACI
Cisco is by far the largest networking vendor, and carries an enormous amount of mainstream influence. Thus, when Cisco does something it immediately warrants attention. In 2014, Cisco started shipping its new flagship data Center networking product, ACI. In a webcast last week, Cisco stated there are over 900 customers running Nexus 9k switches and 200 that have purchased the APIC controller.
…and some Honorable Mentions
- OpenDaylight gains credibility as several vendors based their products on it, including Extreme and Brocade.
- The VMware VS. Cisco battle heats up. Current score: VMware claims 250 paying customers for NSX while Cisco claims 200 customers have bought the APIC controller.
- and HP Launched an SDN App Store
Looking for more? – Check out Marcia Savage’s (@marciasavage) list at Network Computing for their list of 2014 Networking Highlights/Lowlights…
Regards and Happy Holidays/New Year
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