“Sell the sizzle not the steak” is an old saying in the marketing biz, but channel partners and their customers got to the meat (figuratively and literally) of software defined networking (SDN) during Tuesday’s Dell Cookin’ IT Right event.

It was an SDN primer served with a siding of prime beef, courtesy of the Gossip Restaurant’s celebrity chef Rob Rainford, who treated everyone to an interactive, live workshop on how to cook the perfect barbecue.

It was a day of SDN, barbecue, and a FIFA World Cup match on an ultra-wide screen TV. How can you top that?

Attendees  got generous servings of the basics of SDN and software defined storage (SDS) as Dell experts outlined how current strategies and practices may impact their businesses.

Armughan Ahmad, vice-president of networking and converged solutions for Dell, spoke on the Software Defined Enterprise, or as he called it, the age of “software defined everything.” He also stressed the role of the channel community in boosting the adoption of SDN technology. “In order to deploy SDN solutions, we need channel partners more than ever,” Ahmad said.

IT leaders in various organizations are looking for simplicity around storage and networking, Jim Love, CIO of IT World Canada, noted during the panel discussion.

Kevin Burgess, enterprise technologist of the networking group at Dell Canada, and Greg Deffenbaugh, senior enterprise technologist at Storage Dell, discussed the company’s open networking solutions that are designed to work with various enterprise systems.

Their key message was that organizations should take a broad approach, avoid SDN and SDS “lock-in,” and to make sure to “keep your options open.”

“The best definition of Software Defined Storage is yours,” said Deffenbaugh.

Those that sampled Chef Ron Rainford’s specialty, however, probably defined SDN as Steak Defined Networking.

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