Has SDN Risen Above The Hype?
Side note - amusing to see the library image of a ProCurve switch to illustrate this article written by Cisco Federal's CTO :-)
There are precious few companies out there with a fully operating end to end SDN solution that provide not only the theoretical capability to manage the network in the way that's promised, but actually have the controllers and the front end interface to allow such control to take place. Even Cisco - since it seems relevant - while launching Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI) during 2013, is not shipping the ACI-enabled hardware until 2014. I'm skeptical about the ability, at the moment, of technologies like OpenFlow to scale to the extent required to actually control new flows in a busy network in real time, as promised.
I'm not sure therefore that the case here has been proven - as suggested by the article's title - that SDN has risen above the hype. Don't get me wrong - I believe strongly in SDN - but we are still in reality thriving on slideware for many of the claimed capabilities. Certainly this article talks a lot about what will be, and raises hypotheticals for what might be, and how SDN could help. What's missing here, and in many other places, is a rubber-meets-the-road demonstration of these amazing automated capabilities actually running in real time
My feeling is in the shorter term at least, we'll see more of a hybrid approach with default capabilities built in, with SDN overriding for specific flows, but perhaps not as real time as we'd like to claim - more pre-determined by the business. Still, let's see - prove me wrong, vendors!