Last month, I was part of the Intel team that participated in Interop Tokyo, and demonstrated Intel’s software-defined networking (SDN)-compatible switch silicon.


Like here in the US, interest is high in Japan for SDN, but from what I saw during my time at the show and in meeting with several customers, I believe the market for SDN products will emerge more quickly in Japan.


The market is excited about SDN, and the leading SDN protocol OpenFlow, because it gives users a vendor-neutral way to control and manage the network.  Instead of using L2/L3 protocols for routing data, an SDN controller manages the data flows.  This should provide the same level of services as an IP network without vendor-proprietary protocols that can limit advanced network services in a multi-vendor network.


In Japan, local networking providers have good market share and their emphasis hasn’t been on high-margin routing software.  Therefore, these companies are aggressively embracing SDN.


The proof of this was in the strong turnout at the booth (estimated at 200 people), who came to see Intel and NTT Data* demonstrate a network built using NTT Data’s OpenFlow controller and Intel’s Barcelona 10/40 GBE switch reference platform.  The Barcelona platform uses the Intel® Ethernet FM6000 Switch silicon that provides 72 10GbE/18 40GbE ports and supports non-blocking switching and routing with a latency of less than 400ns.


Interop Tokyo was my first visit to Japan and I really appreciated the hospitality and the food in Tokyo.  If my prediction about the success of SDN in Japan holds true, I don’t think it will be my last trip.