On the software side, the pieces of the code to enable software-defined networks are still emerging as are the people who will write it.
Startups including Big Switch Networks and Nicira, now part of VMWare, already have their own versions of OpenFlow controllers. Earlier this month, eighteen large comms and software vendors launched Open Daylight, an effort to create open source code for SDN controllers, the APIs for apps that ride on it and maybe more.
Observers expect the giants to jostle over whose code becomes part of Open Daylight. If a solid product emerges they say companies such as IBM will make money selling integration and services using it—but that could be two or three years away.
McKeown uses the metaphor of Posix, a standard set of APIs for what became Linux. It took a decade for the various flavors of the operating system to settle down to a stage that the Posix APIs could be written. The same may be true for the APIs the enable software-defined networking, he said.
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