SDN — Under the Hood & NFV, needs a hood!

Whatever happened during late 60’s and early 70’s had changed the world, its’s economies, the way we communicate, the way business was done and so on. But eventually in 1983 something got established at a fundamental level and that was, TCP/IP is here to stay forever. For a novice network-guy nothing was much sexier than seeing real TCP/IP packets on tcpdump or wireshark, groovy..

Novice (time travel): Ok, so what about SDN and what is NFV? …

Expert (present): Oh yeah, there are different vendors with multiple variants of encapsulations superimposed with an Overlay and Underlay networking with Openflow capable switch fabric with highly intelligent centralized controllers managed from a highly sophisticated Orchestration layer with loads of Northbound API which opens up possibilities of building customized in-house application to manage our ..blah..blah..blah…

and NFV blah.. blah… blah…

Novice (time travel): ..Oh, please so what about the packets and frames and TCP/IP..?

Expert (present): What do you mean? …ah…You know it’s all still TCP/IP

Novice (time travel): Ok, so why can’t you just tell me that in simple terms?

Expert: …(whispers) no one does, because no one wants to…

Sorry for being dramatic, here the novice and Expert [far from being one, can’t find a better word to make you view my profile :) ] both are me. I believe lots of you out there can reciprocate my thoughts and my feelings. I don’t aim at giving any technical know-how on SDN or NFV here in this post, there’s plenty out there.

Technologies for SDN and NFV and if I stretch it to Whitebox solutions, Openstack and Containers are resounding with numerous possibilities and architectures. There are a million blogs from leading vendors, start-ups to free-lancers on all these technologies and its overwhelming at times. My twitter and LinkedIn group posts have a staggering amount of the information shared or pushed towards to me.

What does SDN do?

Does any organization or Govt. running an IT infra need to move to SDN? How do you justify their move to SDN? Do they really bring down the running costs? Can they continue operations with same folks and skills? Can the business scale-out in short notice?

What does an organization with IT need?

An organizations in today’s world can’t afford to run on high costs, can’t afford to burn space or power in hosted DCs, can’t afford to super-spend on upgrades to move to SDN.

Vendor ethics (we demand)

Shouldn’t fabricate business case to please CTOs to adopt SDN. Should be clear enough and give enough transparency. White papers, pod-casts, webcasts shouldn’t be a platform to compete with other vendors and provide biased information.


We are no more Network or Systems engineers, we are an evolving group of homo-sapiens who can configure a switch using python and automate the same using ansible, pull a JSON file into our monitoring dashboard, write a docker file to bring up a container using a vagrant environment… but yeah also crimp a Cat5 if needed.

It is the thin line between what the biggies [who knew this was the solution but never termed it “software-defined” built Google, Facebook and AWS..] and the vendors/Network/System guy’s perception that this is never a piece of cake.

You would wonder, I started with TCP/IP and ended up with business,

My point is, stick to basics in Technology or Business.

Technology changes every now and then, we need to learn, unlearn and relearn. Businesses evolves by making profit, incurring loses and invest on creating disruptive technologies by the brightest minds!

Thank you for reading through! Happy learning and sharing.

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