Working on Mysteries Without Any Clues
Heading out to VMworld for a second time as member of the Plexxi team. I am really looking forward to the SDN, networking, overlay, switching banter during the show week. During my first year at Plexxi, I spent a lot of time presenting to end-users in the financial, web scale and cloud provider communities.
Over the past six months, not so much.
My time and my team’s time has been much more partnership focused. There are so many different definitions of SDN, that I do not bother discussing it anymore. I use the definition that SDN is the implementation of a controller architecture to do something. If you are a vendor your controller has to do something that you can sell the value of and if you are an end-user the controller has to do something useful and beneficial that you see value in implementing a controller architecture.
I will admit that it took us awhile at Plexxi to break our customer code, but that is pretty normal for a startup. I also think that the last 18 months have been a whirlwind of conflating themes for people to digest such as SDN, openflow, overlay, underlay, linux, open this, open that, open open and open open open, open source, closed source, proprietary, customized, software defined, lock in, lock out, etc. When potential partners ask me what Plexxi is doing, this is what I now tell them:
Plexxi develops a line of photonic spine switches that utilize a high-performance (think >60M flows a sec.) co-controller architecture to build diverse multi-pathed networks (i.e. multi-core) designed to scale into the silicon photonics revolution. We have developed a higher language abstract for the network called Affinity and a meta-data services engine that provides a meet me point for the broader IT infrastructure to correlate requirements for the network. The network is the connectiveness of all things IT.
Any questions? I did not think so. For me, VMWorld 2013 will be about talking to partners, potential customers and checking out the innovations that others are doing in the networking space. I plan to make time to stop by booths and ask questions. SDN is a mystery and I am looking for clues.