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Guest Article: Asia Pacific’s leading role in Software Defined Networking

Dan Pitt, Executive Director of the Open Networking Foundation | Sept. 6, 2012
Interop Tokyo provided further proof that OpenFlow is leading the revolution

OpenFlow-enabled switches and controllers are already available from forward-looking vendors, and new arrivals are appearing ever faster. Speaking on behalf of Open Networking Foundation (ONF), executive director Dan Pitt has applauded Cisco's enthusiasm for Software-Defined Networking and its initial support for the OpenFlow standard, while Extreme Networks claims to be the first Ethernet switch vendor to integrate OpenFlow across its entire product portfolio.

NEC's OpenFlow-enabled controller won the "Best of Interop" Grand Prize at Interop Las Vegas 2012 and was also on show at Interop Tokyo. Two of these devices and 16 NEC OpenFlow-enabled switches have been installed in the Kanazawa University Hospital, a medical research and educational institution in the Hokuriku area of northwestern Japan - providing a clear example of the benefits of SDN across a critical campus network.

Previously each clinical department had independently built and upgraded its network, making it hard for administrators to keep track of the overall structure. Furthermore, the addition of medical equipment also complicated network configuration and connectivity verification, which increased the burden and costs of network administration.

The new system provides a Graphical User Interface (GUI), which enables administrators to update network configuration easily and conveniently, facilitating efficient management of operations and protecting against human error. With OpenFlow, virtualised networks can be easily built for each department (on a common, shared infrastructure) and new medical equipment can be flexibly added to the network.

OpenFlow in Asia Pacific

The OpenFlow revolution began in the U.S., with its immediate recognition by the world's leading cloud providers. As well as eBay, NEC, and other giants, Google has upgraded its entire worldwide network interconnecting data centres to a 100 percent OpenFlow-based network. As Google's senior vice president Urs Hölzle explained: "OpenFlow has proven its reliability and functionality for this mission-critical application at Google". 

But Interop Tokyo, one of the leading business technology events in Japan with over 130,000 attendees this past June, provided even more proof of the region's interest in and commitment to our OpenFlow future. As Dan Pitt, executive director of the Open Networking Foundation (ONF), put it: "I could not have been more thrilled with the reception of OpenFlow and SDN in Japan, and the momentum and demand that the technology is gaining".

Nineteen current ONF member companies and a further 11 prospective member companies (totalling around 90 people) attended an ONF member meeting during the event. On the convention show floor, multiple member companies highlighted OpenFlow in standalone booths. This year's Interop also featured an OpenFlow Showcase. The showcase was buzzing with interest - senior industry players from enterprise and service provider sectors lined up for a programme of speakers and watched seven actual OpenFlow use cases in action. The showcase's open stage area attracted over 200 people for the daily ONF briefing.


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