The Federal government may be in a partial shutdown but TIA 2013 “The Future of the Network” was up and running last week in Washington DC. Here are some observations from the show.
Automating and Abstracting the Network
At the TIA event, there was a lot of talk about SDN, and much of it focused on automation. I took part in a panel on “SDN Cloud Perspective: Virtualization and Automation” that was moderated by Christos Kolias of Orange and included Cisco’s Brian Davis, Stuart Mackie from Juniper and John Healy of Intel. In addition to discussing how SDN can facilitate and expand cloud services, I made the point that we need to provide a more abstract view of today’s heterogeneous network to facilitate the creation of APIs for automation. Supporting the “legacy” part of the network is critical because that it the revenue-generating part.
Revenue Growth in Addition to Cost-Cutting
SDN and NFV provide many opportunities to cut CAPEX and OPEX, and early deployments will likely be justified on the basis of ROI analyses of these factors. In the longer term, these technologies must contribute to revenue growth. This means that the new offerings from hardware and software suppliers must be aimed at areas and/or be built in such a way as to facilitate faster and easier service creation
The combination of tools like NFV and the power of SDN-enabled automation enable some interesting possibilities. Some examples include:
Hot Areas for Development
The overall volume of discussion on SDN and NFV was a bit overwhelming. Here were a few items that stood out.
Outlook for SDN and NFV
There was a consensus that SDN and NFV are both hot and are getting a lot of attention, but that carrier deployments of NFV will come sooner than for SDN. One limiting factor in the near term for NFV is the performance of virtualized functions. According to Feger they are not yet matching the performance of dedicated appliances, but they should when the next generation of servers arrives.
I heard a great line comparing SDN and NFV, saying that SDN is like smart plumbing that can be changed on command, while NFV is like a soft appliance that can be installed on demand.
About the Author
Prayson Pate is Chief Technologist and co-founder at Overture. Prayson is a technology evangelist with a proven track record leading teams and delivering products. Since 1983 he has been building Carrier Ethernet and telecom products for service providers and network operators around the world – both as an individual developer and as a leader of development teams. Prayson spends much of his time driving adoption of Overture’s new Ensemble Open Service Architecture, which includes aspects of automation, virtualization, SDN and NFV. He has a BSEE from Duke, an MSECE from NC State and is the holder of nine US patents.
Follow Prayson on twitter: @praysonpate
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