The past year was a frantic one in the SDN industry as many players made strategic and tactical moves to either get out ahead of the curve on software-defined networking, or try to offset its momentum.
Here's a rundown of what transpired in 2014 as a place setter for the year ahead in SDN.
+ ALSO ON NETWORK WORLD See a list of all our 2014 wrap ups +
Juniper unveils a version of its Junos operating system for Open Compute Platform switches, commencing a disaggregation strategy that's expected to be followed by at least a handful of other major data center switching players in an effort to appeal to white box customers.
Cisco declares "game over" for SDN competitors, and perhaps the movement itself, prompting reaction from two industry groups that the game has just begun; Alcatel-Lucent and Juniper also virtualize their routers for Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) requirements; AT&T and other unveil ONOS, an open source SDN operating system viewed as an alternative to the OpenDaylight Project's code.
Cisco joins the Open Compute Project, 16 months after criticizing it as a one-trick white box commodity pony that has "weaknesses" and is destined to "lose;" Internet2 demonstrates a nationwide virtualized multitenant network, formed from SDN and 100G, that operates as multiple discrete, private networks; increased competition, largely as a result of VMware's $1.26 billion acquisition of network virtualization start-up Nicira, goads Cisco into selling most of its stake in the VCE joint venture to EMC; Dell increases its participation in OpenDaylight after initially having doubts about the organization's motivations; Start-up SocketPlane emerges to establish DevOps-defined networking; Cisco invests $80 into a cloud venture with Chinese telecom vendor TCL.
Cisco boosts its Intercloud initiative, an effort to interconnect global cloud networks, with 30+ new partners, 250 more data centers, and products to facilitate workload mobility between different cloud providers; HP opens its SDN App Store; Brocade becomes perhaps the first vendor to unveil an OpenDaylight-based SDN controller; Cisco loses two key officials in its Application Centric Infrastructure and OpenStack efforts; Cisco acquires OpenStack cloud provider Metacloud; Infonetics Research says the SDN market could hit $18 billion by 2018; SDN's contribution to the Internet of Things becomes clearer.
A Juniper Networks sponsored study finds 52.5% yay, 47.5% nay on implementing SDNs; Cisco ships its ACI controller, and announces pricing and packaging of its programmable networking lineup; The IEEE forms a 25G Ethernet study group after a number of data center switching vendors with considerable operations in SDN and cloud form a consortium to pursue the technology; Big Switch Networks unveils its Cloud Fabric controller; The Open Networking User Group establishes working groups to address what it sees as the biggest pain points in networking, and issues a white paper describing the current challenges and future SDN needs; After initially claiming it wasn't SDN, Cisco now says ACI is the "most complete" SDN; Cisco says its acquisition of cloud orchestrator Tail-f will complement its own Intelligent Automation for Cloud product.
Facebook unveils its homegrown "Wedge" SDN data center switch; Cisco acquires cloud orchestrator Tail-f, which gives it entrée into AT&T's SDN project; Speculation had it that Cisco CEO John Chambers would retire in the fall... it didn't happen; HP unveils an SDN switch with a midplane-free chassis, similar to Cisco's Nexus 9500; Market researchers find that SDN "hesitation" is slowing spending on routers and switches.
HP clarifies its views on open source SDNs; A Goldman Sachs report concludes that Cisco's ACI provides a 3X better total cost of ownership than VMware NSX; Cisco CEO Chambers dashes talk of Cisco acquiring cloud provider Rackspace; Cisco offers products to allow earlier generation Nexus switches to participate in a programmable ACI environment; SDN prompts more questions than answers at a Network World conference; Seven months after dismissing OpenDaylight and open source SDNs, HP raises its investment and participation in OpenDaylight; Cisco's Noiro Networks open source project is revealed as a contributor to a policy blueprint approved for the OpenStack Neutron networking component.
CloudGenix debuts as the latest SDN start-up targeting enterprise WANs; Michael Dell shares his views on SDNs after his namesake company allies with SDN companies Big Switch Networks and Cumulus Networks; Juniper appears ready to accept OpenDaylight after initially dismissing it when it develops a plugin to link its own OpenContrail SDN controller to the open source code; Cisco and VMware take the SDN battle to the policy arena; Cisco unveils the OpFlex policy protocol, largely viewed as an alternative to OpenFlow and other southbound protocols, for ACI and SDNs.
New certifications are expected as SDN takes hold in the networking industry; three years after pledging not to enter cloud services and compete with its customers, Cisco enters cloud services through its $1 billion Intercloud initiative; Dell unveils a fabric switch and SDN controller designed to scale and automate OpenStack clouds; Cisco rolls out new chassis configurations for its Nexus 9000 switches, the hardware underlay of its ACI programmable networking response to SDN; OpenDaylight commissioned study concludes that everyone wants open source SDNs; Cumulus garners additional support for its bare metal NOS; SDN preparation may require 11 steps; Goldman Sachs says there's nothing really new to SDNs; AT&T, NTT and others share SDN implementation experiences at Open Networking Summit 2014; Brocade becomes an early provider of OpenFlow 1.3; NEC looks to scale OpenFlow SDNs.
HP Networking head Bethany Mayer is tapped to lead the company's new Network Functions Virtualization effort; Juniper expands its carrier SDN portfolio with controller and management products at Mobile World Congress; Research finds that enterprise adoption of SDNs lags that of service providers due to several factors, primarily the criticality of the network itself; Big Switch explains why it is optimistic after rebooting its SDN business; OpenDaylight announces that its "Hydrogen" SDN release is now available, after a delay; SDN start-up Pluribus Networks ships its server-switch product.
IBM is reported to be looking to sell its SDN business for $1 billion; JP Morgan downgrades Cisco stock based on challenges in emerging markets, and on the potential impact of SDNs; Cisco announces ACI Enterprise Module, a version of its ACI SDN controller for enterprise access and WAN programmability; ACG Research finds that sales of SDN products for live service provider deployments will reach $15.6 billion by 2018, while those that have live deployment potential will reach $29.5 billion; SDN startup Anuta Networks unveils a network services virtualization system for midsize and large enterprises; Reports surface that an SDN schism has developed at Juniper, pitting Junos and OpenDaylight programmers against CTO and Founder Pradeep Sindhu and prompting the exit of many engineers; AT&T determines that Cisco's ACI is too complex and proprietary for its Domain 2.0 SDN project, according to an investment firm's report.