Why a Rubik's cube?
Software-defined networking (SDN) represents a revolutionary tide flowing through the fusty, slow-moving halls of data-centre networking, bringing speed and dynamism to network connectivity management. The idea that computer data network connectivity can be automatically set up to have its characteristics changed as needs change …
"Microsoft....The company may appear to be a little late to the SDN party"
Erm no. Microsoft has had a publically available, standards based and already production proven on a vast scale SDN solution (NVGRE) since the release of Server 2012 last year. And unlike the proposed VMware / Cisco solution, Microsoft's one will work with existing network equipment:
It is VMware / Cisco who are late to the party with an only just announced and proprietary solution that isn't production ready yet.....
It's definitely the incumbent major vendors who are late and who are still mostly attempting to protect their income in some way or another. Networking is almost ‘money for nothing’ for these companies at present (minimal investment, maximum profit). The whole industry has been a wasteland for years. If your interested I blogged about this subject here: http://packetpushers.net/the-man-in-the-white-suit/
...someone STILL has to monitor yet ANOTHER layer of "automation".
And fix it when it stops "automating". Because fail it will.
Sounds like something that will keep me employed and interested for a little bit longer!
"The advantage is that a single control facility using the control plane automates the setting up of network resources for virtual machines in servers, without needing a small army of qualified technicians using different network interfaces, which can take days and is error prone."
It wouldn't take an army, nor days, nor high amounts of error if the DAMN NETWORKING SOFTWARE WAS SIMPLE TO USE. Major bonus points for designing the network in a way that can scale into the future and does not require constant reconfiguration (e.g. adding vlans, etc).
The networks I have built (I'm not a network engineer by trade - so I've only built about a half dozen over the years) are built this way. Using equipment that allows me to manage them in a way that requires minimal resources, minimal training(if I was starting from scratch), and lots of bandwidth (way overkill for my needs but it was cheap).
But nooooooooo -- so many folks try to clone Cisco IOS look and feel, an interface that has been stuck in the 80s. Cisco has too many customers with heavy investments in this interface that they have not been able to simplify it without triggering an uproar not only among the customers that are used to it - but internally on all the $$ they make on training and certifying people. Ugh, makes me sick.
Some hope this new SDN stuff will finally rid the world (for the most part) of these shitty IOS interfaces and replace them with something better. I'm not sure, but if we get anything out of SDN I suppose that is something I would be happy with. Otherwise I am sick of hearing about software defined anything.
I saw some information on a major outage at one of the service providers my company uses to process credit cards, they were out for 8 hours because, among other things a STP flood in their network. They decided it was not safe to fail over to a backup data center so they worked to correct the problem in the main data center. STP?? really???? what an obsolete protocol. Even my early networks built almost a decade ago did not use STP, there have been alternatives to STP for a good 15 years now(probably longer).
(and yes to answer your question I do not use networking equipment that uses a Cisco-style UI - though they have a optional software module which allows users to use some Cisco commands to make the transition easier)