Top 4 things that changed networking in 2014

The networking industry saw several interesting twists and turns in 2014, with Andrew Lerner, analyst, Gartner providing his take on the top four.

The networking industry saw several interesting twists and turns in 2014, with Andrew Lerner, analyst, Gartner providing his take on the top four.

“The true impact of these are much more longer-term in nature, and we’ll see them play out over the next several years,” Lerner says.

#1 – Switching Disaggregation Catches on

Dell opened 2014 by announcing support to run Cumulus software on its switches, and later followed up with support for Big Switch software also.

Juniper ended the year by announcing an OCP-compliant switch that runs JUNOS on white-box hardware. We are referring to this as “brite-box” switching and we anticipate there are several more mainstream vendors to follow suit.

#2 – SDN trickles into the mainstream

While acknowledging that it is still very early days for SDN, Lerner says Gartner is seeing a “ton of interest and some tire kicking” in the mainstream, documenting results from audience polling at the analyst firm’s recent data centre conference versus last year:


“Despite the small sample size and selective audience, there are some trends to take away from this,” Lerner adds. “I certainly don’t think 10% of the mainstream are doing SDN, in fact, I would estimate it is well under 1%.

“There are still less than 1000 mainstream deployments (SDN still trails Frame Relay in terms of paying customers). However this does show a slow/steady migration from lab evaluations towards production trials, and that more folks are familiar with the concept.”

#3 – SDN hits the WAN

For Lerner, there’s certainly a need for improvements in the WAN and several vendors have applied SDN concepts to directly attack pain-points such as cost, complexity and performance.

“Several start-ups emerged including Viptela, CloudGenix, and Velocloud,” he explains. “In addition, Nuage extended their data centre SDN solution to the WAN, while SilverPeak launched Unity which is based on SDN principals.”

#4 – Cisco ships ACI

Cisco is by far the largest networking vendor, and carries an enormous amount of mainstream influence, Lerner explains.

“Thus, when Cisco does something it immediately warrants attention,” he adds. “In 2014, Cisco started shipping its new flagship data Center networking product, ACI.

“In a webcast last week, Cisco stated there are over 900 customers running Nexus 9k switches and 200 that have purchased the APIC controller.”

…and some Honourable Mentions

• OpenDaylight gains credibility as several vendors based their products on it, including Extreme and Brocade. • The VMware VS. Cisco battle heats up. Current score: VMware claims 250 paying customers for NSX while Cisco claims 200 customers have bought the APIC controller. • and HP Launched an SDN App Store

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