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Software Load Balancing using Software Defined Networking

James Hamilton describing the research done at Stanford University by Nick McKeown and Nikhil Handigol on “software defined networking”: separating the networking control plane from the data plane with the goal of a fast and dumb routing engine with the control plane factored out and supporting an open programming platform:

Today, most networking equipment is shipped as a vertically integrated stack including both the control and data planes. There are many reasons why this is not good for the industry. The Stanford team argues it blocks innovation in that researches can’t try new protocols with a closed stack without a programming model.  I agree. This is a problem for both academia and industry but my dislike of the current model is much broader. In Networking: The Last Bastion of Mainframe Computing, I made the case that this vertically integrated approach is artificially holding prices high and slowing the pace of innovation. A quick summary of the argument:

When networking equipment is purchased, it’s packaged as a single sourced, vertically integrated stack. In contrast, in the commodity server world, starting at the most basic component, CPUs are multi-sourced. We can get CPUs from AMD and Intel. Compatible servers built from either Intel or AMD CPUs are available from HP, Dell, IBM, SGI, ZT Systems, Silicon Mechanics, and many others.  Any of these servers can support both proprietary and open source operating systems. The commodity server world is open and multi-sourced at every layer in the stack.

Open, multi-layer hardware and software stacks encourage innovation and rapidly drive down costs. The server world is clear evidence of what is possible when such an ecosystem emerges.

Is network equipment the last hardware black box?

Original title and link: Software Load Balancing using Software Defined Networking (NoSQL databases © myNoSQL)