April 8th, 2013
At the last Open Networking User Group (ONUG) meeting in Boston organized with partner Fidelity Investments, it became very clear that there are two killer SDN applications: network virtualization and visualization. Some argue that network virtualization used for VM-VM networking is not an SDN technology, but I beg to differ. Sure, there are closed and open approaches to network virtualization, but over the next business cycle, the integration of OpenStack and OpenFlow will make it clear that network virtualization is an SDN application, especially as it’s extended to physical networks. The second killer app is network visualization—that is, the ability to monitor network traffic and tweak application performance. At ONUG Rich Groves, Principal Architect at Microsoft presented his SDN based approach to network visualization he designed with Big Switch Networks, cPacket, IBM, Arista and other suppliers that everyone is now using. Why is network visualization an SDN killer app? Because it uses SDN technology, and most importantly, lowers the capital cost significantly from existing network visualization approaches while also delivering an entirely new level of self-server flexibility. Companies, such as Big Switch Networks, Gigamon, Arista, Cisco, NetScout, Ixia/Anue, cPacket and others, are now positioning their network visualization offers within an SDN context and for good reason. In this Lippis Report Research Note, I focus on network visualization as an SDN killer app.