Software-defined networking and 3D printing are joining cloud computing and machine-to-machine technology on the list of hot IT trends that will be on analysts' radars in 2014. In a new report exploring the emerging technologies most likely to disrupt the status quo next year, Gartner says a push for SDN standards by groups such as OpenStack and OpenFlow will propel a move away from purely appliance-based networking solutions and predicts a 75% increase in 3D printer shipments, as well as the rise of smart machines and the hybrid cloud.
As software-defined networking matures, observers expect an industry push for vendor-agnostic products to increase the profile of open-source frameworks such as OpenDaylight -- which is scheduled to release its first set of products on Dec. 9 -- and protocols such as OpenFlow. According to Kurt Glazemakers, chief technology officer of CloudFounders, the drive for more unified control will ultimately lead to a dramatic evolution in the way networks are designed and managed. "As software is replacing more and more core functionalities, traditional boundaries like storage, network and compute will start to disappear," he said.
Juniper Networks is nearly ready to push its Linux-based software-defined networking controller called JunosV Contrail into the market. The controller, to be released six months ahead of schedule, reflects Juniper's acquisition of Contrail and supports several protocols as better alternatives to OpenFlow, the company said. Juniper said it entered into agreements with Citrix, Mirantis and Cloudscaling, which will use the controller in their CloudStack and OpenStack platforms.
Dell is introducing a top-of-rack switch and related management software as part of a push to develop a total fabric solution built on advances in software-defined networking and virtualization based on the OpenFlow protocol. The S5000 module switch is part of the company's Active Fabric networking offering, which boasts up to a 77% reduction in power costs, according to Dell. The company is also reiterating its loyalty to Windows RT in its tablet portfolio plans.
Software-defined networking will continue to mature in 2013, propelled by advances in the OpenFlow standard -- including QoS and security -- and the development of new SDN-supported products and solutions, observers say. Martin Casado, chief technology officer and co-founder of Nicira, says this evolution will lead to a "Balkanization" of the industry as various providers seek to customize and distinguish the offerings.