Trust me. CLI is not going anywhere. CLI is the only way to troubleshoot SDN.
There will be plenty of new CLI commands to “show” flow tables logic, operation
and debug communications between data plane and controller.
I would say importance of CLI is even greater in SDN as you now has
to observe operation between Control plane and Data plane which previously “just worked”.
CLI is here to stay, it just going to be used mostly for monitoring rather than configuration.