SDN can turn the network into a big data “curator,” claims Juniper

Software-defined networking (SDN) will help application developers provide context for all the data their services generate and consume, according to Juniper Networks product management lead Jennifer Lin.

SDN involves the abstraction of the network’s brains, as it were, from its hardware. This is analogous in some ways to server virtualization, in that it makes it much easier to build smarter systems on top of commodity hardware. Juniper’s take on this sees the network as four layers, namely forwarding, control, services and management — in Juniper’s vision, everything but the forwarding layer should be centralized.

Lin, who joined Juniper through the company’s acquisition of SDN specialist Contrail Systems, said at GigaOM’s Structure:Data conference in New York on Wednesday that federating the control function and eliminating “manual error-prone processes” would help the big data because:

“We’re seeing a huge opportunity here to reposition the role of the network as a curator of big data and make sure that role is easily exposed through abstractions of the network. The role of the network is interesting because the network is the only thing that’s globally pervasive and … uniquely knows a lot of the contextual information that is required to drive insights back into the system.”

Lin argued that this “rich context” would enable new types of business models such as collaborative data exchanges, without anyone needing to worry about the technology architectures involved. “The role of the network is changing quite heavily and the pace of innovation for hyperconnected data is really astonishing,” she added.

Check out the rest of our Structure: Data 2013 coverage here, and a video embed of the session follows below:

A transcription of the video follows on the next page