OpenFlow, or the Software-Defined Networks:
Thanks to OpenFlow, I now understand the "control plane vs. data plane" idea, which I thought were mysterious magic words allowing telco engineers to recognize themselves. In the OpenFlow world, there are some dumb switches that route packets according to a routing table, and there is a clever controller, which orchestrates these switches. Switch-Controller communication uses the OpenFlow protocol.
The first novelty is that the OpenFlow protocol has been designed at Stanford, therefore (i) it is cool, (ii) software engineers have heard about it, and (iii) it is endorsed by a buzz concept, namely software-defined networking. The second novelty, but a noteworthy one, is that the main network equipment vendors integrate OpenFlow API in their switches (at least Juniper and Cisco). So, it is becoming real: software developers will really be able to control a network remotely.
OpenFlow is both networks and software:
- In the network area, there is only one truth: every new concept is something already done twenty years ago. Good news for OpenFlow: it looks like MPLS. Therefore OpenFlow is a networking concept. \qed
- Computer scientists are driven by vaporous concepts like model abstraction, composition and semantic. Guess what? OpenFlow designers dangerously embrace them. Even worse, network scientists have started publishing in POPL and ICFP.