VMWare’s $1.26 billion bid was a flashback to the heady days of the dotcom boom when companies could not buy their way into emerging communications markets quickly enough.
In his blog, Horowitz justified the deal, saying the money buys VMWare entry to a $37 billion data networking market. Interestingly, one of the advisors on the deal was Frank Quattrone of Qatalyst Partners LLC who helped construct some of the big dotcom deals.
Market watchers are already describing the SDN opportunity with B words. International Data Corp. said the market for SDN products will grow from about $100 million this year to $2 billion by 2016.
Dell’Oro Group analyst Casey Quillin topped that figure estimating a $2.6 billion SDN market by 2016 in a report released last week, noting the sector’s “almost legendary rise.” Part of that value is new products and part is existing value now in traditional routers and switches shifting to new SDN servers, he said.
3. The cloud discount
VMWare needs to add the big cloud computing data centers to its customer list for growth beyond its core market in enterprise virtualization. But to date the company lacked support for some of the key open source platforms such as KVM and Citrix Xen many of those customers use.
With the Nicira deal, VMWare now has support for OpenStack, one of the main open source server virtualization platforms. So cloud computing, as much as SDN, is responsible for the high value of the deal. At least that’s the theory from one networking executive who asked to remain anonymous.
4. So who’s next?
“I view this acquisition as the first of many to come,” said Shehzad Merchant, vice president of technology at switch maker Extreme Networks, speaking on a NetEvents panel.
Market watcher Nick Lippis cribbed the field in an online analysis. Citrix, IBM, Microsoft and Red Hat are among the most likely suitors. The biggest target is Big Switch Networks, the other independent SDN controller maker to emerge from the Stanford project. Startup Embrane is another possible buy for its distributed platform for providing virtual network services, as are two stealth-mode companies—Pluribus and Plexxi, he said.
While these are "simple words", they do not tell me what SDN is doing. Are we using routers and switches? From what I have read, I still do not understand if SDN is bypassing these (which would be impossible, since they are the network paths) or what it is doing that enables it to bypass the proprietary network software. How can it bypass what is set up to only enable one way of communications? Don't these routers and switches then have to be reprogrammed to accept this non-proprietary SDN programming--are they retooled and reloaded with this, or is the original OS on there and software is then loaded on top (like old windows on DOS) to set up new means of transmission? It was also noted that SDN can tell the network there is more "network" than the routers are allowing--"applications think they have the network to themselves, when they are sharing it"--what happens to collisions and bandwidth?
The response to this would then provide a simplified answer to "What is SDN"?
The answers floating around sound like "tech bubble slight-of-hand" and every answer on the Internet looks like it was cut and pasted, with no one actually knowing what is happening with SDN, other than those who created it.
Please let me know: hippleda_at_gmail.com
No, software defined radio is quite different, as I understand it. That's more about being frequency and protocol agile by doing more radio functions in digital rather than analog blocks.
SDN is a whole new way of building networking systems. Today we make routers, switches and other gear each with proprietary hardware/software but linked using standard protocols. The SDN concept is to use more open software and API to run network jobs as apps anyone can write that run on standard PC servers.
SDN could up-end the whole communications sector and leaders such as AlcaLu, Cisco, Ericsson, Juniper etc. and their ASIC-heavy products if it takes off.
SDN moves networking functions off from proprietary hardware and software environments on dedicating gear such as routers, switches and network appliances and turns them into software applications running on open software environment on x86 servers.
SDN aims to simplify how end end users set up and manage networks (fewer interconnected boxes and protocols) and open up the task of developing cool new network capabilities to anyone who can write C programs--speeding the pace of change and flexibility of networking.
David Patterson, known for his pioneering research that led to RAID, clusters and more, is part of a team at UC Berkeley that recently made its RISC-V processor architecture an open source hardware offering. We talk with Patterson and one of his colleagues behind the effort about the opportunities they see, what new kinds of designs they hope to enable and what it means for today’s commercial processor giants such as Intel, ARM and Imagination Technologies.