How SDN Can Change How IT Works Together

By Damion Desai, a Mobility Account Manager within Sales and Marketing at Intel. He manages the collaboration between Intel and Cisco in the areas of Mobility, Software Define Networking and Network Functions Virtualization.

Intel is preparing for our Diamond sponsorship at Cisco Live San Francisco coming up shortly.  We look forward to this event each year as our partnership with Cisco continues to grow and deliver new and innovative value for our mutual customers.  I am particularly interested in hearing how attendees and customers engage around the opportunities and challenges they face.  Cisco Live attendees represent a class of networking engineers and IT architects who have designed, configured, and deployed networks for their respective enterprises in a period of almost perpetual disruption driven by the convergence of networking and compute.  They have survived all of this change and I know are up to the next round of evolution and revolution to enable us all to connect as we need to and want to!

After the initial hype phase the realization of a fundamental shift in how networks are architected and managed is now maturing to a pragmatic reality.  What everyone agrees on is the why things need to change (some with more trepidation than others, some with more “religion” around the manifestation).  Simply stated, the demands and complexity of today’s application and communications environments – any where, any time, virtualized everything, hybrid clouds, public clouds, private clouds, BYOD, M2M, and other machines getting into the communications mix, structured data, unstructured data, analytics requiring new types of access to data stores and archives mixed with dynamic data, and so on – are putting quite a different demand on the network!

Whether you follow IETF, IRTF,, or a wide array of other standards bodies grappling with this and taking on this challenge, there is no doubt that something has to change.  SDN, software defined networking, however, has become one of those catch phrases that has been subjected to so much “marketingification” (a new addition to the lexicon) that confusion has set in for some.  SDN seems to have suffered from all of the attention by becoming something not that far akin from the elephant and blind man story illustrated here.  It is different depending upon your perspective!

Intel and Cisco have enjoyed a technology partnership through our joint efforts in delivering the Cisco UCS platform that brought down the silos between compute, storage and networking.   The platform has continued to evolve with Cisco delivering innovation that takes advantage  of Intel’s investment in enabling the type of compute power required for today’s i/o intensive applications.  Together, Cisco and Intel have pushed new boundaries and broken records.  I am excited and optimistic about what we will do together in support of enabling a new type of networking turned on its head, more silos busted (applications must join the team now), informed from the beginning by the applications that users and the emerging class of users (machines in the world of IoT/IoE) need.   One example announced at Mobile World Congress describes how Intel building blocks for SDI (software defined infrastructure) are helping Cisco deliver open, extensible and elastic services to mobile operators. For more on how we view this opportunity, should you need reading material for your trip to San Francisco, please check this out

I will be supporting our effort at Cisco Live and hope you stop by the booth.  Make sure to introduce yourself and let me know how you are coping with the challenges of evolving your networks for the future and how Cisco and Intel could possibly help!