Light Reading
Recently transplanted from Cisco, Meyer talks about SDN's audiophile potential and the ad-hoc implementations of early adopters

Q&A: David Meyer, Brocade's New SDN Expert

Craig Matsumoto
12/21/2012
50%
50%

One fun aspect of software-defined networking (SDN) is on the personnel side. It's created a rush to grab experts in switching and routing protocols.

Cisco Systems Inc. plucked David Ward from Juniper Networks Inc., and in November, Brocade Communications Systems Inc. got David Meyer out of Cisco. (See Cisco SDN Expert Leaves for Brocade.)

Light Reading got a chance to talk with Meyer by phone this week, to get his perspective on the amorphous identities of SDN and find out where he expects to help steer Brocade.


Light Reading: So, how's the job? You've been there a couple of months now.

Meyer: That's right, I've been here about nine weeks. I've been traveling every week. I live in Oregon, so just to be here [at Brocade, physically] I'm traveling. In Europe, I've been at industry events I was already committed to, and I've been out to see customers. Asia, too. I've been seeing customers, getting a feeling for what's going on on the ground.

Light Reading: Why'd you move from Cisco?

Meyer: I thought there was a really great opportunity here at Brocade. I think we have a great opportunity to build our business, especially in the area of SDN. This is going to be about software, but we also have a good substrate for this both in hardware and software.

And great people. Not that Cisco wasn't great; Cisco's a great company. The biggest thing is difference of scale. If you look at market cap, it's about two orders of magnitude. It's kind of a rule of thumb; everything's two orders of magnitude smaller -- headcount, etc. -- and that level of scale is really noticeable, in ways that are positive and other ways that are not.

Light Reading: So, what's your definition of SDN?

Meyer: My view of it is quite a bit wider and deeper than the sort of SDN I've been calling OpenFlow SDN, just to get a name for it. OpenFlow SDN is one piece of the bigger programmability picture, and that picture is all the stuff that's going on in the IETF, the IEEE, the new ATIS exploration [see ATIS Weighs In on SDN Standards] -- and in the ITU, for that matter.

I'll give you an example: You might decide one way to do this version of SDN is to peel off traditional pieces of the control plane and do them in a centralized way off of the new architecture -- something like PCE [the IETF's Path Computation Element model]. That's a piece of SDN that isn't necessarily OpenFlow. The network is getting programmed by the PCE server, and the PCE server can be hooked up to anything it wants, including an optical system. Above that, there's an entire universe of provisioning, orchestration layers, CloudStack -- all that stuff.

So, my vision of programmability is an ecosystem. Brocade's playing at the bottom layer of this ecosystem, where you have forwarding layers and control planes.

Light Reading: Most of the SDN talk focuses on openness and the need for industry standards, but -- how "open" is this really going to be?

Meyer: It's created an ecosystem where everyting is, I would say, a little bit de-siloed, where everybody has to play with everybody else. If you go to a place like VMworld, you'll see VMware Inc. would announce something that's made up of five or six different players.

What I've seen recently is that some people -- they're like audiophiles. They want to get the best, and they want it to work together. So, there's a lot to choose from at the higher layers of this ecosystem. It seems like this ecosystem is growing at a high rate. Except for probably the non-commodity switch level.

Light Reading: Well, even there -- it depends what you mean by "commodity," but the Broadcom Corp.-based switches, the companies like Arista Networks Inc. -- they'd been built up quite a bit.

Meyer: Sure. No matter what you do in software, eventually somebody's going to have to switch packets. That part's not going to go away.

To Page 2

(3)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Page 1 / 2 Next >
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
patentchoi
50%
50%
patentchoi,
User Rank: Light Beer
1/5/2013 | 2:03:13 AM
re: Q&A: David Meyer, Brocade's New SDN Expert


Brocade's markets are mostly enterprise. Is this their play to get into carrier market ? Time will tell.

Pete Baldwin
50%
50%
Pete Baldwin,
User Rank: Light Beer
1/5/2013 | 2:03:13 AM
re: Q&A: David Meyer, Brocade's New SDN Expert


So according to Meyer, many companies are accepting the SDN analytics cycle where you mine the network for data, find out what's going on, and use that info to (if necessary) reconfigure the network.


It fits with the general premise that analytics are becoming a very important part of networking. I'm reminded of Ray's video bit from May: 


http://www.lightreading.com/blog.asp?doc_id=221210

joferrei
50%
50%
joferrei,
User Rank: Light Beer
1/5/2013 | 2:03:13 AM
re: Q&A: David Meyer, Brocade's New SDN Expert


Regarding the "SDN analytics cycle where you mine the network for data, find out what's going on, and use that info to (if necessary) reconfigure the network" -- is this cycle fast enough? Packet data bursts come and go much faster (at microsecond time scale) that server software can react. To be useful, the reconfiguration functionality needs to operate in sync with the data plane events: one needs a realtime control plane that is integrated with the date plane. Of course NMS software can provide (non-realtime-dynamic) configuration parameters for the realtime control plane (just like it does for the data plane).

Flash Poll
From The Founder
It's clear to me that the communications industry is divided into two types of people, and only one is living in the real world.
Jonestown
Mobile Backhaul: Going to the Dark Side?

10|30|14   |   2:26   |   (0) comments


Heavy Reading's Patrick Donegan shares his view on a dark trend that bubbled up at Light Reading's annual backhaul conference in NYC.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
2014 Huawei Electric Power Industry Summit: Interview With CEO of SwitchCom

10|30|14   |   4:13   |   (0) comments


SwitchCom, an IT company based in Angola, recommends a variety of Huawei solutions and hardware to their customers in the energy industry.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
2014 Huawei Electric Power Industry Summit: Interview With Ethiopia's Ministry of Water Irrigation & Energy

10|30|14   |   4:08   |   (0) comments


Gosaye Mengistie of Ethiopia's Ministry of Water Irrigation & Energy discusses the collaboration with Huawei in that country.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
2014 Huawei Electric Power Industry Summit: Interview with Dongfang Electronics Corporation

10|30|14   |   5:46   |   (0) comments


Dongfang Electronics Corporation, headquartered in Chengdu, China, is one of China's largest manufacturers of power generators and contractors of power station projects.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
2014 Huawei Electric Power Industry Summit: Interview with Zimbabwe's Customers

10|30|14   |   3:31   |   (0) comments


Representatives of Zimbabwe's Ministry of Power and Development discuss the energy needs of their country as well as new areas of improvement due to enhanced ICT capabilities.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
2014 Huawei Electric Power Industry Summit: Interview With Colbún Chile

10|30|14   |   4:29   |   (0) comments


In Chile, an aging energy infrastructure was in dire need of a modern update. Claudio Valenzuela of Colbún discusses how Huawei's ICT solutions continue to provide crucial information to improve the grid and how an in-country engineer is a cricial asset.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
2014 Huawei Electric Power Industry Summit: Interview With YuLiao

10|30|14   |   6:27   |   (0) comments


Yu Liao, chairman of the Chinese Association for Renewable Energy in Germany, discusses the role that ICT solutions play in helping to grow renewable energy resources in Germany.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
2014 Huawei Electric Power Industry Summit: Interview

10|30|14   |   2:54   |   (0) comments


Sifang has been working with Huawei on several projects. JingTao Wu, Assistant President of Beijing Sifang Automation Co. Ltd., believes that the cooperation with Huawei can facilitate Sifang's process of internationalization.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
A Better Connected Smart Grid: Powering Laos

10|30|14   |   5:38   |   (0) comments


Representatives of Electricite Du Laos (EDL), a state-owned corporation, discuss the importance of ICT solutions in serving their country's energy needs.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
2014 Huawei Electric Power Industry Summit: Interview With Junwei Lu

10|30|14   |   4:50   |   (0) comments


Professor Junwei Lu of Griffith University Australia describes his work with micro grid technology and the future of the power industry.
LRTV Documentaries
The Next-Gen Network Disconnect

10|29|14   |   01:23   |   (2) comments


There's a lot of talk about making networks more simple with SDN, NFV and next-gen broadband technology – but what about the complexity of introducing such capabilities?
LRTV Custom TV
Grow Your VPN Service Revenue

10|27|14   |   4:00   |   (0) comments


Watch how CSP product managers can better differentiate and maximize the value of their Internet, VPN and cloud services for business services customers, by adding premium application performance visibility to their data services.
Upcoming Live Events
November 6, 2014, Santa Clara
November 11, 2014, Atlanta, GA
December 2, 2014, New York City
December 3, 2014, New York City
December 9-10, 2014, Reykjavik, Iceland
February 10, 2015, Atlanta, GA
May 6, 2015, McCormick Convention Center, Chicago, IL
May 30, 2015, The Westin Peachtree, Atlanta, GA
June 9-10, 2015, Chicago, IL
Infographics
WhoIsHostingThis.com presents six of the world's most extreme WiFi hotspots, enabling the most epic selfies you can imagine.
Hot Topics
Microsoft's Skype Embraces WebRTC on IE
Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, 10/27/2014
FTC Slaps AT&T With Throttling Lawsuit
Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, 10/28/2014
Wheeler Gets Down With OTT
Mari Silbey, Independent Technology Editor, 10/29/2014
China's MVNOs Hit the Wall
Robert Clark, 10/27/2014
Let's Not Kill SDN & NFV With Silos
Francois Locoh-Donou, Senior VP, Global Products Group, Ciena, 10/28/2014
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed