Software-Defined Networking (SDN) Explained: New Epoch or Passing Fad?

Wednesday, July 11th, 2012 at 6:30 PM

TI Auditorium


6:00 - 6:30 PM Networking & Refreshments
6:40 - 8:00 PM Opening Remarks
6:40 - 7:25 PM SDN Overview & Research Projects
7:25 - 8:10 PM ONF: Taking OpenFlow and SDN from Lab to Market
8:10 - 8:45 PM Panel Session, Discussion & Q&A

Chair: Sanjay Kasturia
Organizer: Alan Weissberger

Session Abstract:After several years of research, Software Define Networking (SDN) has finally become a reality. At this year's Open Networking Summit, Google announced it had already deployed its own SDN design in the backbone network that interconnects all its Data Centers. NTT and Verizon hinted that they'd deploy SDN soon, while network equipment vendors indicated they were committed to the concept. IT executives and managers are also taking notice. One pundit predicted a 'new epoch' in networks based on SDN- for data centers, campus networks and WANs.
But what exactly is SDN and the associated OpenFlow protocol that the Open Networking Foundation (ONF) is standardizing?
The term SDN has been redefined from the 1980s and 90s where it was used by AT&T and other telcos to denote a VPN for digital circuit switched and private line WANs. SDN now applies to the control of IP routed and Ethernet switched networks. Key SDN concepts include the separation of the data and control planes, the existence of a centralized controller with an overarching network view, and the ability for external apps to program the network. Why is that so profound and what are the advantages to be realized?
Meanwhile, the OpenFlow protocol is said to increase network functionality while lowering operating costs through simplified hardware, software, and management. How is that possible?
ComSocSCV has lined up the world's top two speakers on each of these topics to describe and discuss SDN, OpenFlow along with research projects and ONF standardization activities. The two 45 minute presentations will be followed by a lively panel session and audience Q & A moderated by the IEEE ComSocSCV Chair.

Speaker: Guru Parulkar

Bio: Guru Parulkar ( is the founding Executive Director of Open Networking Research Center ( -- a new center established by Stanford and UC Berkeley to create a comprehensive intellectual framework for software defined networking (SDN) and develop, deploy, and support open source SDN tools and platforms for the larger community. He is also Consulting Professor of EE at Stanford and served as Executive Director of Clean Slate Internet Design Program at Stanford where OpenFlow and SDN were conceived and developed.
Guru has been in the field of networking for over 25 years and has worked in academia (Washington University in St. Louis and now Stanford), startups (Growth Networks and others), a large company (Cisco), a top tier venture capital firm (NEA), and a federal funding agency (NSF). He participated in the IEEE-TiE March 2011 Professors Panel, which was highlighted in the IEEE Global Communications Newsletter (GCN).
Guru received PhD in Computer Science from the University of Delaware in 1987. He is a recipient of Alumni Outstanding Achievement award and Frank A. Pehrson Graduate Student Achievement award from the University of Delaware.

Title: SDN: New Approach to Networking

Abstract: Software-defined Networking (SDN) is a new approach to networking that has the potential to enable on-going network innovation and enable the network as a programmable plug-and-play component of the larger cloud infrastructure. Key aspects of SDN include: separation of data and control planes; a uniform vendor agnostic interface called OpenFlow between control and data planes; logically centralized control plane, realized using a network OS, that constructs and presents a logical map of the entire network to services or control applications on top; and slicing and virtualization of the underlying network. In SDN a researcher, network administrator, or third party can introduce a new capability by writing a software program that simply manipulates the logical map of a slice of the network.
Guru will elaborate on the SDN story in his talk: the rationale, design, deployments, and coming together of a SDN ecosystem which includes data centers, campus networks and WANs. He will also talk about past research work at Stanford and the proposed agenda for the new Stanford- UC Berkeley Open Network Research Center.

Speaker: Dan Pitt

Bio: Dan Pitt joined the Open Networking Foundation full-time as Executive Director on its public launch in 2011. He currently runs all aspects of ONF. Dan brings extensive experience in networking technology, standards, and products with IBM, HP, Bay Networks, and Nortel, where he was Vice President and laboratory director. He has advised startup companies worldwide, taught computer science and electrical engineering classes/seminars, and served as SCUs Dean of Engineering from 2003-2006.
Dan was a major contributor to the IEEE 802 standards committe in the mid to late 1980s as a voting member of 802.1 and 802.2. He had worldwide responsibility for IBM to standardize all aspects of Token Ring LAN (IEEE 802.5), which included the MAC, type 2 LLC, Source Routing Bridging, and Network Management (in IEEE, ETSI, AFNOR, BSI, ANSI, JAPANSI, and ITU). Dan was a a good "standards citizen" in committees he participated in. He was an important contributor in many areas, including universally administered MAC addresses and the harmonization of Source Routing and Spanning Tree bridging.
Dan received a B.S. from Duke University and a Ph.D. from the University of Illinois.

Title: The Open Networking Foundation

Abstract: The Open Networking Foundation's ( mission is to foster a vibrant market for SDN products, services, applications, and users. We are standardizing the OpenFlow protocol as the essential building block that allows physical separation between the forwarding plane and the control software, and mapping out the architectural framework of the SDN space. Though retaining strong ties to the academic world that originated this technology, ONF aims for its commercial readiness. In this talk we will describe who we are, how the movement evolved and ONF formed, how we are tackling this challenge, the nature of our membership and major contributors, milestones achieved, and where we're headed.