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Open Networking: The Whale that swallowed SDN

Art Fewell | June 18, 2014
SDN and networking conversations today have become overloaded with hype. The future is no longer just about one approach to SDN but has become much bigger. Welcome to the Open Networking Revolution.

It's time for an Open Networking Revolution
While today it is clear that the SDN movement has caused significant inflection and change in the networking industry, confusion over the breadth, scope and complexity of the subject has created room for vendor FUD and confusing tactics that would leave consumers still beholden to vendors.

Today many leading SDN/NFV solutions promote closed application ecosystems that would move the industry from the legacy position where no real development could happen on a network device, to a position where each development made in networking software creates a compounding lock-in effect on the vendor platform. This sad attempt at compromise offers increased functionality in exchange for greater consumer lock-in and diminished bargaining leverage.

But it does not have to be this way.

The truth is, open networking is not the whale that swallowed SDN; SDN was never more than a piece of this much larger goal. But along the way we have allowed SDN to swallow open networking, allowing competitive battles over inconsequential technical components to distract us from the greater objective.

The internet and the future of networking are not just any old business deal, the internet has changed the world and will be the basis for an entire reinvention of our society. Watch a toddler's eyes up as they play with a tablet, watch how our children learn, consider how they will find work, how our society will find innovations to solve our great challenges and we see that the internet and networking technology is at the very center of our society's future. I for one do not want this future to be dictated and controlled by vendor influence and manipulated to support vendor goals. The future of our industry should not be beholden to vendor battles but should be guided by an open community where all of us work together to guide this critical foundation of society's future. It's time for us to raise our voices and demand better; it's time for an open networking revolution.


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