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Blog Posts in June 2012

We need both OpenFlow and NETCONF

Every time I write about a simple use case that could benefit from OpenFlow, I invariably get a comment along the lines of “you can do that with NETCONF”. Repeated often enough, such comments might make an outside observer believe you don’t need OpenFlow for Software Defined Networking (SDN), which is simply not true. Here are at least three fundamental reasons why that’s the case.

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Does TRILL make sense at all?

It’s clear that major hypervisor vendors consider MAC-over-IP to be the endgame for virtual networking; they’re still squabbling about the best technology and proper positioning of bits in various headers, but the big picture is crystal-clear. Once they get there (solving “a few” not-so-trivial problems on the way), and persuade everyone to use virtual appliances, the network will have to provide seamless IP transport, nothing more.

At that moment, large-scale bridging will finally become a history (until the big layer pendulum swings again) and one has to wonder whether there’s any data center future for TRILL, SPB, FabricPath and other vendor-specific derivatives.

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Big Switch and Overlay Networks

A few days ago Big Switch announced they’ll support overlay networks in their upcoming software release. After a brief “told you so” moment (because virtual networks in physical devices don’t scale all that well) I started wondering whether they simply gave up and decided to become a Nicira copycat, so I was more than keen to have a brief chat with Kyle Forster (graciously offered by Isabelle Guis).

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QFabric Lite

QFabric from Juniper is probably the best data center fabric architecture (not implementation) I’ve seen so far – single management plane, implemented in redundant controllers, and distributed control plane. The “only” problem it had was that it was way too big for data centers that most of us are building (how many times do you need 6000 10GE ports?). Juniper just solved that problem with a scaled-down version of QFabric, officially named QFX3000-M.

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Choose your networking equipment with RIPE-554

In case the industry press hasn’t told you yet, tomorrow is the World IPv6 Launch day. While the obstinate naysayers will still claim IPv6 doesn’t matter (but then there are people believing in flat Earth being ~6000 years old and riding on a stack of turtles), the rest of us should be prepared to enable IPv6 when needed … and it all starts with the networking equipment that supports IPv6 and has IPv6 performance that has at least the same order of magnitude as the IPv4 performance.

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