OpenFlow is all the rage right now and since I just got done doing a product overview of it and its relation to the HP product line we just recently purchased, I thought I would get in a quick post about all of it while the topics and ideas are still fresh in my mind. So this post will be less of a technical post than usual and more of a detour about my thoughts on networking and the effect OpenFlow is having on it.
I am still trying to wrap my head around some of the key concepts and applications that OpenFlow has to offer but I think I am beginning to understand the core concepts behind it, and honestly I don’t understand all the OpenFlow hate and SDN bashing from other network professionals.
Even thought OpenFlow is a fresh concept for me I can already see potential benefits and possible use cases and I think that there is some great potential with SDN in general. There must be some interesting value here, otherwise there wouldn’t be so much interest by all of the heavy hitting networking industry leaders like IBM, Cisco, HP, Google, etc. collaborating and working on projects like OpenDaylight and Floodlight. Since the concepts and ideas behind OpenFlow are so new and are largely unexplored there is a very mysterious and exciting quality behind the technology and because of this I believe that creativity can help drive its development and adoption. The other nice part about OpenFlow is that it is an open standard so it can be developed and extended by whomever feels like participating or contributing (Cisco and its OnePK API and other vendor specific API’s are a different story) to the project and the code base. I am a huge proponent of Open Source and I feel like having an open standard creates better code and more opportunities for everybody involved, it doesn’t benefit one but rather the collective.
I also want to touch briefly on the technical side of OpenFlow for all the IT pros. Technology evolves and changes all the time, we’ve seen it time and again in our industry. If you are stubborn to the point that you won’t dedicate the time to learn something new just because its not what you are familiar with then you probably won’t have much of a future in IT and ops or at least a future going forward in the networking world. Sure you’ve built a career on your niche ability and skill set to solve complex and challenging networking problems, but that is not a unique quality. All IT professionals build their careers on their ability to do this (at least the good ones I’ve seen so far), and every other area of IT is subject to these same types of issues that new technology brings. In my opinion the haters just need to grow up and accept the fact that they will need to remodel their skills from time to time. It’s not that big of a deal. And besides, OpenFlow actually looks promising and looks like it will be a great tool for IT pros to utilize to solve interesting problems.
Rather than complain and find fault, embrace OpenFlow, because whether you like it or not, it will have its place in the networking world moving forward.