Time to pay attention to all that SDN hype: analyst

Despite being a relatively recent concept, Software Design Networking (SDN), an approach to building networks in which control is separated from hardware and handed over to a software application, is being pushed aggresively by a growing number of networking vendors, according to a threat and security management adviser.
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Up until a few years ago SDN was an “esoteric concept driven by academics,” said Jon Oltsik, senior principal analyst for Enterprise Strategy Group. However, today, vendors such as Hewlett-Packard, Brocade, Arista, Cisco, Juniper and VMware are coming out with their own SDN strategies.

SDN holds the promise of the following:

– SDN can potentially simplify technology around network segmentation and make it easier to build end-to-end virtual local area networks and boost data integrity and privacy over the network and multi-tenancy environments

– SDN could be employed to align network flows with security policies rather than having to deploy security appliances along the network path

– SDN could be used to aggregate network flows for analysis


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However, in a recent blog, Oltsik said the push behind SDN and its implications for boosting network security may be a bit too early in the game.
“Yup, no questions that SDN and network security go together like peanut butter and chocolate but isn’t it too early to start pushing this beyond the halls of academia?” he wrote. “…If networking people are still learning the fundamentals of SDN, you can bet that security professionals haven’t a clue.”

Oltsik believes that despite the chatter around SDN much of the talk and development is confined to the “supply-side of the equation, driven by engineers, trade shows, standards committees and marketing hype.”

SDN in relation to security is being promoted because to do so is beneficial for networking vendors that also have a network security business, according to Oltsik.
For example, he said, Cisco and Juniper are heavily investing in market education and seed planting “in hopes of a late 2014 harvesst.”

This strategy might not result in immediate deals, but they could have an impact in in the long term. It is for this reason, that other networking companies should keep a close watch on SDN market trends, said Oltsik

Read Jon Oltsik’s blog here

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