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The potential impact of network functions virtualization (NFV) and SDN is a catalyst for technology suppliers and technology thinkers alike

This Virtual World

Ray Le Maistre
3/22/2013
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The heat being generated by network functions virtualization (NFV) and its kissing cousin SDN (software-defined networking) is cooking up a meaty pot of announcements and viewpoints about the potential game-changing nature of these emerging capabilities. (See What's NFV All About?) The topics dominated the presentations and chat at this week's OFC/NFOEC event in Anaheim, Clifa., as our team reported from the West Coast. (See SDN's Killer App: More Network Control and OpenFlow Goes Optical.) It also prompted renowned communications thinker (philosopher, even) Martin Geddes to ponder, in his "Future of Comms" email newsletter, the role that SDN and NFV are playing in the reshaping of network planning strategies. In his latest discourse, titled "Computer networking is dead," Geddes argues that SDN and NFV are "transitional technologies," and not the end game. Also this week:

  • Heavy Reading analyst Simon Stanley pondered the role of certain chipsets -- namely, multicore and network processors with multiple 10Gbit/s, 40Gbit/s and 100Gbit/s interfaces -- in virtualized data centers and SDN environments. (See All Change for Packet Processing.)
  • Speaking of which ... Ericsson AB announced a network processing chipset, the SNP 4000, that, according to Infonetics Research Inc. principal analyst Michael Howard, will "enable functions such as service isolation and virtualization." Of course, you'll need an Ericsson router if you want to check it out in situ. (See Ericsson Unveils Network Processor.)
  • French vendor Ipanema Technologies announced a software version of its applications acceleration platform, called virtual|engine, that has been developed for virtualized wide area networks. My immediate thought was -- what took them so long? (See Ipanema Goes Virtual.)
  • AT OFC/NFOEC, Calient and Plexxi announced a partnership to enable optical SDN capabilities for data centers. (See Calient & Plexxi Launch SDN Data Center System.) SDN and NFV are going to be among the key topics we'll be covering in 2013 and beyond at Light Reading and we'll be looking for views and news from the industry to help figure out exactly how these new networking approaches will impact the communications technology ecosystem. (See Time for a Change.) All we ask is that the industry holds back on any more acronyms.... — Ray Le Maistre, Editor-in-Chief, Light Reading

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