One of the more underappreciated aspects of networking these days is just how powerful a network management tool the simple application programming interface (API) can actually be.
Case in point are F5 Networks and Big Switch Networks, which just inked an alliance under which any changes made to networking gear from F5 Networks will automatically be reflected in network virtualization software from Big Switch Networks.
One of the frequently espoused conventional pieces of wisdom about networking is that networking equipment from a single vendor is easier to manage. To a degree that’s always been true. But as API technologies in the enterprise continue to mature, it’s going to be a whole lot easier to manage heterogeneous networking equipment from multiple vendors.
According to Phil de la Motte, director of business development, the two companies are essentially leveraging the F5 BIG-IQ Cloud REST API to bi-directional-extent, software-defined-networking (SDN) attributes. Over time, it’s not hard to imagine how open APIs might be used to create virtual SDNs that not only promise to make extended networks simpler to manage, but also substantially reduce configuration errors.
It will take some time for the SDN market to mature. But it’s pretty clear at this point that the way IT infrastructure gets managed as a whole is about to significantly change for the better.