Network abstraction and virtualization are similar, but they do have significant differences, as well. All network virtualization is abstracted, but not all network abstraction qualifies as network virtualization. Abstraction is a lower-level concept, while virtualization is a higher-level concept.
In the new year, expect SDN and SD-WAN to come back down to earth. Meanwhile, multi-cloud, edge computing and intent-based networking will ramp up. Plus, data centers are not dead.
Everyone is talking about intent-based networking these days, but because there is no great agreement on what it is, many people are trying to twist that around. The latest entrant to this is Cisco, who is trying to co-opt the trend. Where do we go from here?
I spent a week in Beijing, participating in the OPNFV Summit which is a global event focused on the NFV market, primarily with carriers. I had a lot of engagement with the Chinese carriers and found that there is an amazing amount of collaboration within their ranks.
Back to back trips to Boston gave me an opportunity to talk open source and cloud from different perspectives with both Red Hat and OpenStack. There is a lot going on in this space and the trips showed that just as the open source movement has a lot of commonality, what really brings them together is the acceptance of opposing viewpoints.
There has been a lot of activity in the SD-WAN space, it is the “low hanging fruit” of SDN because it deals with point-to-point connections for the most part. Last year I predicted consolidation in the industry and we are seeing the beginning of that with the Cisco / Viptela acquisition.
Edge compute has become more prevalent as technologies like IoT are beginning to be deployed and more enterprises are becoming more distributed. Hewlett-Packard Enterprise has a strategy to ensure security throughout the chain, from the datacenter to the edge.
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Open source and networking are getting closer together as more innovation is being driven in the networking space by open source organizations, not proprietary vendors. The Open Networking Foundation and ON.LAB are merging to help drive more innovation by aligning resources.
Everyone has to start their year with predictions of what will happen. Generally we’ll all be simultaneously right and wrong because nobody can predict the future. But the trend lines are there and I believe that we are heading towards some major changes in 2017.
The world of networking has two opposing forces, the customers and the vendors. Open networking has gotten a big boost from vendors in recent years through the efforts of groups like ONUG that advocate for customers, helping drive those requirements over to vendors for implementation.