SDN architectures

SDN Still Needs a Gathering Like ONS

I heard someone compare this week's Open Networking Summit (ONS) to Interop, and they didn't mean it kindly. Now, Interop is owned by Light Reading's parent company, UBM Tech, and I'll be attending in May, so it's not as though Interop is a bad place. (We won't discuss which city it's in.) The speaker's point was that Interop is a vendor-dominated show with product-pitch keynotes. Separately, Mike Bushong, vice president of marketing at Plexxi (yes, a vendor) wrote in a blog entry Friday that ONS 2013 showed SDN has "officially moved beyond technology discussion and into sales mode." That point is inevitable for any growing industry but is arriving too soon for SDN, he writes. More than a month ago, I speculated whether ONS could remain a strong techfest while also being inevitably tugged by the gravity of the software-defined networking (SDN) hype bubble, an object from which not even light can escape. ONS can pull it off. The sales and marketing side won't get any quieter, but that's tolerable. I say that because it's my job to attend these things (think of it like an immunity to iocane powder), and because I don't mind the sales side paying for things like a Philz Coffee station. (It's a San Francisco thing. The rest of you are missing out, trust me.) But with every conference becoming an SDN conference -- I can't wait to check the hype-meter at Interop -- ONS can't forget its roots as the place to discuss the specifics of the technology. What is it that SDN and OpenFlow need to accomplish, and how does the technology advance in that direction? Not every conference will have a Stanford-level discussion about the specifics. ONS still can. — Craig Matsumoto, Managing Editor, Light Reading

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