Open Networking Foundation has this nice and crisp definition of SDN:
[SDN is] The physical separation of the network control plane from the forwarding plane, and where a control plane controls several devices.
Using this definition it was easy to figure out whether certain architecture complies with ONF definition of SDN. It was also easy to point out why it was ridiculous.
I was running the first part of the Data Center Fabrics Update webinar last week, mentioned that Brocade VDX 6740 supports Flex ports (a port you can use as Fibre Channel or 10GE port), and someone immediately wrote a comment saying “so does VDX 6940”. I was almost sure Flex ports aren’t available on VDX 6940 yet, and as always turned to vendor documentation to figure it out.
As expected, the data sheet is a bit vague, somewhat reflecting reality, but also veering into the realm of futures instead of features. Here’s what they say:
We all know how IT marketing works – unless you exaggerate your claims at least as much as your competitors do (the activity politely called “Bulls**t bidding war” by Tom Nolle) you’re soon just a footnote in the IT history. However, you don’t have to use the same approach in technical conversations.
As Network World writes, the latest product announcements from Cisco were met with the “so what” attitude. As one of my recent pet projects dealt with improving presentation skills, I found it interesting to try to understand the marketing techniques used in these announcements. The Presentation secrets of Steve Jobs book was a great help. Among other advices given by its author, you’ll find these:
Create Twitter-like Headlines ... but there’s a difference between already far-fetched “Apple reinvents the phone” (Steve Jobs @ iPhone launch) and CRS-3 will forever change the Internet.
In another close-to-perfect series of events, Scott Berkun has just published his latest speech on innovation delivered at The Economists’ Ideas Economy event. I loved this part (you might have noticed I’m following the Schneier Blogging Template) ...
You can put the word innovation on the back of a box, or in an advertisement, or even in the name of your company, but that does not make it so. Words like radical, game-changing, breakthrough, and disruptive are similarly used to suggest something in lieu of actually being it. You can say innovative as many times as you want, but it won’t make you an innovator, nor make inventions, patents or profits magically appear in your hands.
… but you should really take the time to read the whole article; it's a gem.
Any similarity to the recent Innovation is Everywhere event is obviously pure coincidence. If you don’t believe me, read some more statistics-based debunking from the resident skeptic Michael Shermer.
It’s pretty hard to sell something to people who haven’t realized they need it. My workshops and Cisco TelePresence are perfect examples. While I’m struggling to find the right approach, infinitely more resourceful Cisco’s marketing created an ideal tool: the Cisco TelePresence Calculator.
Another cloudy product launch happened on Wednesday: the next step in the Borderless Networks saga with the tagline Innovation is Everywhere (what a revelation; we were not aware of that before the event).
Must read: why is cloud computing a bad metaphor
I wanted to entertain you with some juicy opinions about the webcast, but that will have to wait; I’m going rock climbing in a few minutes. In the meantime, you can satisfy your inner Dilbert with a comprehensive technical (what a relief!) summary of the products and technologies launched on Wednesday published by Jennifer McAdams in the Cisco’s Innovation blog. Thank you, Jennifer! Great job; exactly what the engineers need.
When I received the first invitations to Cisco’s product announcement that will “forever change the Internet”, I knew it would be another case of overpromising and underdelivering. But even being prepared for the let down, I was totally disappointed when the “magic” product was another high-end router. No doubt it’s an important product, no doubt it will give the Tier-1 service providers a tenfold improvement of the total network throughput, no doubt it’s a wonderful piece of engineering (quoting the Cisco’s press release: it unifies the combined power of six chips to work as one ... you see how banal and degrading the engineering efforts look when described by marketing?), but it will “forever change the Internet” in the same way that AGS+, Cisco 7000, Cisco 7500, Cisco 12000 and CRS-1 did ... by providing ever-higher core network throughput.