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Rumor: Google to Add SDN Smarts to Android

Ray Le Maistre

Here's a software-defined networking (SDN) story straight out of left field: Google, it seems, is planning to incorporate the OpenFlow protocol, which is currently being deployed in many initial SDN-enabled architectures, into a future version of the Android operating system (OS). At first, the notion is hard to comprehend. But according to a senior Tier 1 telecom operator executive, who discussed his insight into Google's plans on condition of anonymity, this is on the Android roadmap and is part of Google's plan to extend the reach of its virtual data center all the way to the very edge of the network -- to the mobile device. And that's a lot of devices: Google has just announced at its I/O developer conference that the Android OS has been activated more than 900 million times. But why would Google do this? That's the big question. Google, it appears, would like each Android device to become a mini blade in its ever-expanding virtual global data center. In OpenFlow, it has possibly identified the protocol to manage that resource in the best possible way. This isn't anything that's in the public domain, though. The Open Networking Foundation, which is promoting the use of OpenFlow and the concept of SDN, says it is not aware of such a development, and Google is indicating it is not aware of the Android/OpenFlow plan. Network operators, though, are monitoring the development and trying to figure out how such a move might further relegate them to bit pipes and strengthen the hand of one of the major over-the-top (OTT) service providers. Google is already very familiar with OpenFlow and how it can be used in a network management context, as it operates what is probably still the world's largest SDN architecture. (See Google: SDN Works for Us.) — Ray Le Maistre, Editor-in-Chief, Light Reading

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Vinay Bannai
Vinay Bannai,
User Rank: Light Beer
6/18/2013 | 12:13:18 AM
re: Rumor: Google to Add SDN Smarts to Android
The use case for having Openflow enabled in the Android device may not be evident at this point, but it sure does provide the device capabilities that would then allow you to deploy new applications. Can't think of anything at this point excepting for VPNs and hosted applications in the data centers.
Ray Le Maistre
Ray Le Maistre,
User Rank: Light Sabre
5/22/2013 | 9:04:47 AM
re: Rumor: Google to Add SDN Smarts to Android
This is not an easy thing to get one's head around.... the extension of a virtual global data center to smartphones, which would act as mini blades at the edge of the network... But it would appear that this is on the roadmap and it is being taken very seriously by operators that are becoming worryingly familiar with the term 'disintermediated'.
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