Top 10 Network Management Blog Posts of 2014

As the year winds down, we were interested to discover our most viewed blog posts of 2014, our inaugural year of the Knetwork Knowledge blog. Not surprisingly, the majority of articles concern SDN. From the rise of production deployments among service providers to management concerns to job security worries, SDN continues to alter the network landscape, attempting to assert its place as the disruptive technology it promises to be.

These top 10 articles present a good snapshot of SDN’s evolution this year as well as the network issues in general. Here they are in order of popularity (See also our short summary of each one below):

    1. SDN Deployments/Worries Rise Among Service Providers
    2. No, Software Defined Networking Will Not Doom Engineers
    3. First Impressions of the OpenDaylight Helium Release
    4. Network Management Challenges of 2014
    5. SDN Analytics & Orchestration from the 17th Annual SDN/MPLS Conference
    6. Okay, Maybe It IS the Network (Infographic)
    7. The Best Presentations on SDN Analytics and Wide Area Orchestration at SDN/MPLS 2014
    8. Necessity of Monitoring and Analytics in the SDN Era
    9. Netflix is using obfuscation to not pay their fair share!
    10. SDN/NFV Management and Orchestration

The #10 post – SDN/NFV Management and Orchestration – summarizes a panel that our CTO Cengiz Alaettinoglu participated in during the Big Telecom Event in Chicago last June. Addressing the topic with fellow panelists from Infoblox, Overture, UBIqube, and NTT America, Cengiz discussed what he believes are the three main management challenges of SDN/NFV:

    • Speed of network changes
    • Visibility into changes made programmatically
    • Impact to existing services of requested programmatic changes

Our CEO Scott Sherwood wrote the blog post about Netflix and how he believes the company has assumed the Network Neutrality mantle to avoid paying their fair share of Internet traffic transit fees.

In “Necessity of Monitoring and Analytics in the SDN Era,” Packet Design Distinguished Engineer Hari Ananthakrishnan examines the current SDN landscape and what’s needed for vendors to succeed. He asserts that our Network Access Broker maps well to SDN monitoring and analytics needs and how it can be integrated with the OpenDaylight (ODL) controller for provisioning.

Our two blog posts about November’s SDN/MPLS conference in Washington, D.C. also made the top 10 (#5 and #7, respectively). In the first post, I summarize our CTO Cengiz’s presentation at the conference about “SDN Analytics: Bridging Overlay and Underlay Networks.” During this talk, he asserted that underlay routing issues will impact overlay network performance, creating the need for SDN analytics to correlate the two and provide management visibility. In the second one, Cengiz himself discusses his favorite presentations from the conference, including those by representatives of IBM, Cisco, and Time Warner Cable.

The article “Okay, Maybe It IS the Network(the sixth most popular blog post of 2014) presents an infographic based on the results of an Enterprise Management Associates (EMA) research paper titled “Managing Networks in the Age of Cloud, SDN, and Big Data: Network Management Megatrends 2014.” The infographic – “Management Needs in an Age of Network Change” – depicts results such as growing network traffic, the widespread problem of cloud visibility, management concerns hindering SDN, and which two network issues were chosen as the top primary root causes of performance/degradation problems.

The fourth most viewed article of 2014 – Network Management Challenges of 2014was also the first one we published last January. In it, technology commentator Brian Boyko establishes the foundation for our blog and the Packet Design approach to network management: “…no matter how much the venerable router is under assault and in danger of becoming a commodity, we know that you will never be able to abstract all physical devices – or humans for that matter – from the network. But we will all need to adapt.”

In the third most popular blog post, Distinguished Engineer Hari Ananthakrishnan tackles the practical matter of OpenDaylight’s Helium, the first major upgrade to its open source SDN controller, which was released in October. He discusses his view of its features, shortcomings and strengths from an engineering perspective.

No, Software Defined Networking Will Not Doom Engineers” – the second most popular article of 2014 – addresses an issue near and dear to network engineers: job security. In the post, Brian Boyko discusses an article by IDG’s Stephen Lawson titled “Will software-defined networking doom the command line interface?” Boyko suggests the real question is: “Are network engineers going to be made obsolete by software defined networking, when SDN can do so many things that required specialized CLI knowledge to accomplish?” 

Finally, the most popular post of 2014 – SDN Deployments/Worries Rise Among Service Providerswas about our second annual survey at the SDN/MPLS conference in Washington, D.C. Based on a poll of more than 60 service providers, the results showed significant growth in production SDN from 2013 but also more worries about skills, tools, and standards. In our first post of 2015 next week, we’ll be sharing these results in an infographic.

Happy New Year and thanks for reading our blog!