Defining OpenFlow

Jon Langemak comments at Das Blinken LichtenDas Blinken Lichten »:

I want to draw the line in the sand right off the bat and tell you that OpenFlow != SDN. OpenFlow is an open API that allows some intelligent device (an OpenFlow controller) to program the data plane of an OpenFlow enabled device. That’s it. SDN on the other hand, at least to me, stands for something entirely different. SDN means a revolution in how we manage networks as a whole. A Software Defined Network would provide programmatic interfaces to the networking infrastructure that would allow for a very high degree of automation and management. In addition these software defined networks would be more easily aligned with other infrastructure. From a provisioning perspective, this is a natural progression in the network joining other silos (think storage and compute) to become what I like to call ‘common infrastructure’. In the end, we want one platform that can manage all of the common infrastructure.

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About the author

Stephen Foskett

Stephen Foskett is an active participant in the world of enterprise information technology, currently focusing on enterprise storage, server virtualization, networking, and cloud computing. He organizes the popular Tech Field Day event series for Gestalt IT and runs Foskett Services. A long-time voice in the storage industry, Stephen has authored numerous articles for industry publications, and is a popular presenter at industry events. He can be found online at,, and on Twitter at @SFoskett.

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