SDN in 2014: More Adoption and More Money for Vendors

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VMware NSX will move to broader deployments in 2014.

Martin Casado, the man who helped to kick off the SDN revolution, will be active in 2014. Casado sold his company, Nicira, to VMware for $1.26 billion in 2012. At the VMworld USA event in 2013, Casado pulled the wraps off the new VMware NSX network virtualization platform that fully integrates Nicira technology into the VMware world. The promise from VMware is nothing short of achieving the same lofty heights with network virtualization that the company has already achieved with its domination of the server virtualization industry. Announcing a product is one thing, but it remains to be seen in 2014 whether the adoption and deployment of NSX will happen (or not).

Software-defined networking (SDN) emerged in 2013 to be one of the hottest trends in networking. SDN wasn’t invented in 2013, it's a concept that has its roots in a Stanford University thesis co-authored by Martin Casado in 2005, "The Virtual Network System." The term SDN emerged in 2009. Ironically, Casado, the man who helped to create the SDN revolution, said in a video interview earlier this year that he no longer knew what the term SDN meant, because the definition has blurred as networking vendors big and small adopt the term to fit their own definition.

At its core, SDN is about agility and flexibility in networking topology, separating out the data packet flow logic that had traditionally only resided within networking hardware chassis. In a typical SDN model, the data packet flow paths are defined by a software-based controller, while data flows across both physical hardware as well as virtual software switches, in what is known as an overlay model. The SDN market is still a relatively young one, and 2014 is likely to be a year of growth as technologies mature and vendors aim to deliver on their promises. In this slideshow, ITBE takes a look at the SDN market as it ends 2013 and its outlook for 2014.

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at InternetNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist


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