Feeds

Vint Cerf endorses software-defined networks

Is this the fall of the stupid switch?

Security for virtualized datacentres

One of the reasons for the rise of the Internet was that it was stupid: by throwing buckets of bandwidth at any problem, and attaching the intelligence to the network edge, it could ship bits around vastly cheaper than telco carrier networks.

That competition was documented back in 1998 in David Isenberg's famous paper, The Dawn of the Stupid Network, which dismissed the “intelligent network” as a “marketing concept for scarce, complicated, high-priced services”.

Now, however, even one of the fathers of the key TCP/IP protocol suite, Vint Cerf, seems to be arguing in favour of returning to a smarter network. In a speech given to the Open Networking Summit in Santa Clara, California, and reported by Slashdot here, Cerf endorses software-defined networking's (SDN) separation of the data plane and the control plane.

That separation means that forwarding decisions – the control plane – can be abstracted away from the switch elements and hosted in external (and more generic) servers.

“I wish we had done [the separation] in the Internet design, but we didn’t … In a very interesting way you have an opportunity to reinvent this whole notion of networking.”

The separation has another implication, however, which isn't lost either on vendors or carriers. The abstraction of the control plane into software is also seen as an opportunity to pull service creation and definition back into the network, away from the elements – giving carriers a chance to recoup some of the value lost when they were turned into big, dumb bit-pipes.

Back to Cerf: speaking to the Open Networking Summit, he noted that the emerging market meant SDN was currently suffering from fragmentation and needs at least some kind of movement towards standards and interoperability.

“As you get to the point where you want to have something big happen, spend some time working on getting agreement on standards,” Cerf is quoted as saying. Standards encourage innovation because everyone can work to the standard, as “happened in the creation of the Internet—and these standards often create a certain amount of stability.

“Stability is your friend in networking environments. If you can’t rely on some stable point in the architecture, you’ll have some trouble in making things work reliably.” ®

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

More from The Register

next story
FCC, Google cast eye over millimetre wireless
The smaller the wave, the bigger 5G's chances of success
It's even GRIMMER up North after MEGA SKY BROADBAND OUTAGE
By 'eck! Eccles cake production thrown into jeopardy
Mobile coverage on trains really is pants
You thought it was just *insert your provider here*, but now we have numbers
Don't mess with Texas ('cos it's getting Google Fiber and you're not)
A bit late, but company says 1Gbps Austin network almost ready to compete with AT&T
prev story

Whitepapers

Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.