SDN: What Do CIOs Need to Know? - Page 3

CIOs considering SDN have a lot to think about. What changes will it bring, what are its use cases and business benefits, and what challenges does it create?

By Jude Chao | Posted Nov 21, 2013
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SDN and virtualization vendors to watch

Shah named a number of vendors he considers important to the space. Cloud networking provider Amazon Web Services has "set the bar in terms of automation. Everything is programmable and everything has an API, which is a fundamental shift to how things are built," Shah said. SoftLayer, recently acquired by IBM, "also gets automation," he added. Shah called Duke Skarda, SoftLayer's CTO, "a very bright guy who clearly articulates how crucial automation will be to next-gen data centers to fulfill the cost and agility targets that CIOs are looking for."

Shah also mentioned VMware, who "has a lot to say on the matter," and Juniper. "They don't quite have the market share [of Cisco], but they are making concrete steps in this direction, and what they're doing is going to be important," he said.

But the vendor that got Shah's highest acclaim was Cisco. "Given their market share for their infrastructure—everyone's got Cisco—watching what they do becomes important. They've already taken some steps in the space, and they're continuing to accelerate that pace," he said. He agrees with Cisco's Application Centric Infrastructure approach to software-defined networks. It is something that "resonated well for a lot of CIOs," Shah observed, since at the end of the day, the applications are the point of the data center.

No vendor should be taken off the table at this point, according to Shah. Despite recent advancements in the technology, SDN is still at a relatively early stage, "still climbing" its Gartner hype curve. But "we're getting close to the peak," he said.

The past year has seen major developments in SDN, developments which have taken it from a little-understood buzzword to something approaching accepted reality. Driven by these developments, enterprise mindsets are also evolving. What else do CIOs need to know about SDN? Let us know in the comments.

ENP editor Jude ChaoJude Chao is executive editor of Enterprise Networking Planet. Follow her on Twitter @judechao.

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