IT Brief New Zealand logo
Technology news for New Zealand's largest enterprises
Story image

Forget the tin, networking is becoming a software game

By Donovan Jackson
Mon 3 Sep 2012
FYI, this story is more than a year old

Enterprise networking always was a complex environment, made more so by the proliferation of vendors, protocols, configurations, devices and more which are required to shift bits and bytes from one place to the other.

Making it all easier to manage is the goal of the Open Networking Foundation (ONF), an organisation advancing the case for ‘software defined networking’ and the OpenFlow protocol. In effect, what it does is pour a big bottle of vanilla over the products of every networking vendor – and, perhaps incredibly, it does so with their apparent blessing.

In a fuzzy telephone interview, ONF executive director Dan Pitt said its work is to take out the hundreds or thousands of distributed signals and controls and put them into a centralised control point.

“By doing this, we enable switches to be simpler. Ordinary programmers and languages can be used to programme the network to do what it needs to do. Software, in effect, is used to define the network operation by itself.”

A quick look at ONF’s membership page throws up a bit of a surprise: major makers of networking tin have put their names down in what can certainly be seen as an initiative which completely commoditises their hardware. But, says Pitt, “While ONF standards result in a reduction in the complexity and cost of network equipment, there is still high value in silicon, but not in the basics. The products [of various vendors] are still distinguishable. A lot of effort is duplicated, such as the proprietary operating systems by vendors.” It is this that ONF seeks to remove.

Also, Pitt continued, developments in networking tend to be glacial by ICT industry standards. “For example, development and acceptance of a new operating protocol takes years; with software defined networking, a new routing algorithm can be ready in three weeks.”

What that means is an acceleration of innovation in the field of networking.

User, not vendor, benefit

More than that, the method of software defined networking removes a considerable overhead – that of manually configuring the routers and other devices which comprise the corporate network. “The way [most organisations] deal with devices today is to configure them with command-line interfaces, manually assigning ports and applications in a process that can take weeks. With OpenFlow, it is possible to autoconfig virtually the entire network independent of the physical devices,” says Pitt. That makes for a big saving in operational expenditure – and he says it eliminates errors.

There is perhaps a hint at covert vendor resistance to a concept which is a great leveler in Pitt’s comment that ONF members ‘publically champion’ OpenFlow. “The approaches taken differ. The first step is to add OpenFlow to existing software and routers. If this affect margins, there will be a correction [to business models]. Right now, we see a lot of positioning; what is clear is that this is of great benefit to users and it falls to vendors to figure out how the design state is worked into profitability. There will be a change as networking increasingly becomes a software, rather than hardware discipline.”

Pudding

OpenFlow has caught the attention of less-than-trivial companies like Google; it’s global data center WAN is 100% OpenFlow-based. It delivers 95% network utilisation and claims simpler configuration, management and provisioning. Other indeterminate metrics provided by ONF include ‘hitless upgrades, faster failure handling, faster Test Traffic Measurement’.

Meanwhile, Genesis Hosting in Chicago has deployed OpenFlow to support multi-tenant virtual networking, interoperable with a legacy network. It claims 50% less administration, 60% more IP address efficiency and the fabled ‘five 9s’: 99.999% availability.

Related stories
Top stories
Story image
Tech job moves
Tech job moves - ARMA International, Avec, Komo & YouGov
We round up all job appointments from August 15-18, 2022, in one place to keep you updated with the latest from across the tech industries.
Story image
Microsoft
CCL launches Managed M365 offering for NZ work environments
CCL, the cloud specialist within Spark Business Group, has recently launched its Managed M365 offering.
Story image
Update
InterSystems releases updates to its IRIS data platform
Provider of next-generation solutions InterSystems has announced a series of new releases to its award-winning InterSystems IRIS data platform.
Story image
Cloud Security
Organisations struggling to secure new cloud environments
“In the wake of COVID-19, organisations substantially accelerated their digital transformation initiatives to accommodate a remote workforce."
Story image
Cloud
Microsoft accelerating NZ tech sector with new data centres
Microsoft’s forthcoming New Zealand data centres are introducing hyperscale public cloud capabilities on a scale previously unseen in the country.
Story image
LawVu
Exclusive: LawVu streamlines the in-house legal struggle
LawVu is a New Zealand-born company successfully transforming the in-house legal industry with its category-defining workspace.
Story image
Mobility
Micro-mobility companies caught at a crossroads - study
Reformulating models, operations and goals, shared micro-mobility companies can tap into a market worth US$9 billion in ride revenues in 2030.
Story image
SaaS
Cloudera launches all-in-one data lakehouse cloud service
CDP One makes it faster, easier and less risky for businesses to move to the cloud and migrate existing workloads to a modern data architecture.
Story image
Microsoft
8x more users attacked via old Microsoft Office vulnerability in Q2
"Criminals craft malicious documents and convince their victims to open them through social engineering techniques."
Story image
Customer experience
Exclusive: How Accenture is changing the customer experience game
Creating highly personalised real-world customer experiences using API, near-field communication, and spatial technology is about taking a traditional experience and elevating the customer journey into a digital world.
Story image
Innovation
Arcion extends data replication platform with new capabilities
"Arcion is committed to investing in continuous innovation. Our goal is to be the first choice in whole-product solutions for large-scale data replication."
Story image
Sustainability
CDC hyperscale data centres now open in New Zealand
CDC Data Centres (CDC) says two new, state-of-the-art hyperscale data centres are now open for business in Auckland.
Story image
Cryptocurrency
Crypto crime: Illicit activity falls with rest of market
Cryptocurrency scams, which typically present themselves as passive crypto investing opportunities, are less enticing to potential victims.
Story image
Mobiles
Demand grows for future-proof mobile access solutions
HID Global, in partnership with IFSEC Global, recently released the 2022 State of Physical Access Control report for the fourth year running.
Story image
Environment
Lenovo launches CO2 Offset Service for SMBs across A/NZ
Lenovo has announced the rollout of a new, first-of-its-kind CO2 Offset Service for SMBs across Australia and New Zealand. 
Story image
Solutions
Ivanti reveals potential ROI of 261% for Endpoint Management Solution
Ivanti has announced the results of a commissioned Total Economic Impact (TEI) study conducted by Forrester Consulting.
Story image
Hybrid Cloud
The essential guide to digital transformation by SolarWinds
Digital transformation is a buzzword thrown around all the time by companies, but what does it actually mean and why is it important? SolarWinds breaks it down.
Story image
Mobility
Cradlepoint launches architectural extension of NetCloud solution
With this latest release Cradlepoint is focused on helping lean IT organisations with advanced SD-WAN and zero trust capabilities.
Story image
Unified Communications
MAXHUB reveals latest innovations for ANZ at Integrate 2022 in Sydney
Some of the most exciting and innovative updates from this year's Integrate 2022 event have come from the leaders at MAXHUB.
Story image
MarTech
CM Group recognised as Best Overall MarTech Company
MarTech Breakthrough has ranked CM Group as the Best Overall MarTech Company for the third year running and Cheetah Digital as Best Overall Marketing Campaign Management Solution.
Story image
Digital Transformation
Federated change is the best path to digital evolution
Businesses that can successfully manage the exponentially expanding masses of data produced by modern consumers will be the businesses that survive and prosper.
Story image
Collaboration
Schneider Electric launches Connected Services with Claroty
Schneider Electric is teaming up with Claroty to assist in maintaining cybersecurity for physical assets - a critical issue.
Story image
Cyber resilience
NZ’s Cyber Resilience Framework to be evolving and potentially automated
The government's already putting $2.4 million into the Cyber Resilience Framework in its initial stages, what is it and why is it important?
Story image
Artificial Intelligence
Concentric AI protects sensitive data with new capabilities
The new capability reveals sensitive data shared across email and business messaging platforms and highlights who has inappropriate access to content.
AWS Marketplace
Learn how security orchestration, automation, and response (SOAR) enhances your security strategy.
Link image
Story image
Cybersecurity
CISOs need to consider a risk-based cybersecurity strategy
Rather than talking in terms of attack vectors and vulnerabilities, CISOs and security decision-makers must look at actual business risk.
Story image
Data Protection
Safeguarding your financial data
As the digital revolution marches on, managing data security has never been more important. Here are five important steps to take toward better financial data security.
Story image
Cybersecurity
‘Windows shops’ target admin rights to de-risk their environments
New data shows up to 75% of critical vulnerabilities could be mitigated through a rights and privileges crackdown
Story image
Radware
DDoS activity rises dramatically - Radware report
The first six months of 2022 were marked by a significant increase in DDoS activity across the globe, according to a new report.
Story image
Storage
On-premise micro data centres an emerging option for storage
Digital transformation is occurring in all industries, resulting in unprecedented amounts of data. Explore the option of storing your information on-site using micro data centres.
Story image
Contact Centre
Treasure Data launches new customer experience functionality
Treasure Data has introduced a new strategic vision and product positioning for Customer Data Cloud, reflecting the company's focus.
Story image
Gartner Magic Quadrant
Spryker named Gartner Visionary in 2022 Magic Quadrant for Digital Commerce
Spyker has announced it has been recognised by Gartner as a Visionary in the 2022 Magic Quadrant for Digital Commerce.
Story image
Business Intelligence / BI
TIBCO ranks highly in 2022 business intelligence study
Dresner Advisory Services has recognised TIBCO as a Service Leader and a Credibility Leader in Business Intelligence in the 2022 Wisdom of Crowds Business Intelligence Market Study.
Story image
Data
Workday research finds A/NZ organisations becoming leaders in digital agility
New research from Workday and IDC has revealed that Australia and New Zealand are becoming leaders in digital agility.
Story image
Blockchain
Australian Grand Prix uses CENNZnet blockchain for fan experience
CENNZnet was employed by Power'd Digital to deliver the Formula 1 Heineken Australian Grand Prix's 2022 AusGP Access program.
Story image
Banking
Virgin Money works with 9Spokes to create custom offering
Virgin Money has worked with Kiwi SaaS 9Spokes to build a custom version of its business dashboard offering, M-Track, to generate stronger insights for the bank and its customers.
Story image
IDC
Collaboration app market revenue grows 28.4% year-over-year
IDC has found that global revenues in the collaboration applications market grew 28.4% year-over-year in 2021 to $29.1 billion.
Story image
Cloud
Whispir reports significant revenue growth as CaaS market expands
Australian cloud platform Whispir has announced its financial results, reporting significant growth as it continues to introduce new Communications-as-a Service (CaaS) offerings to the market.
Story image
Facial recognition
Benefits vs risks of facial recognition technology
Once a distant, futuristic concept, facial recognition technology is now found in many technological applications with a variety of different functions. 
Story image
Cybersecurity
Verizon supports Fujifilm's cybersecurity advancements
Verizon Business is supporting Japan’s Fujifilm Holdings to strengthen its global cybersecurity monitoring and cyber intelligence capabilities.
Story image
Email scams
HelpSystems shines light on impact of response-based threats
Response-based attacks targeting corporate inboxes have climbed to their highest volume since 2020, representing 41% of all email-based scams.
Story image
5G
Worldwide 5G mobile data traffic exploding - report
"With 5G, there is a wider range of deployment scenarios, forcing vendors to provide comprehensive solutions to support every need."