(That doesn't mean OpenFlow will never appear at Cisco. (See Cisco Will Support OpenFlow.))
Yes, it's a lot of hype, but OpenFlow really could change the way networks are designed. The argument is tied to cloud computing and the virtualization craze. You can flit from one server to another when using an application, but you're still frozen in your choices of how to get to that server. Hence, the terms like Nicira's Network Virtualization Platform or Big Switch's intentions to become the VMware Inc. (NYSE: VMW) of the network.
It will be interesting to see the reviews Nicira gets from the critics. Scale is a big part of the company's pitch, as I recall from hints CTO Martin Casado dropped at the Open Networking Summit in September. Ivan Pepelnjak notes on his blog on ipSpace.net. Nicira's platform looks good for "very large data centers building IaaS infrastructure with Linux-based server," he writes.
Like any overexposed technology, OpenFlow will have its backlash, and I think it's seed is in Pepelnjak's comments. People will realize that OpenFlow is not going to be that useful in every single network, and that will lead to talk of the technology being overhyped. In the long run, though, I think OpenFlow -- or some SDN technology just like it -- will become the norm in networking.
— Craig Matsumoto, Managing Editor, Light Reading