Observations from an SDN Road Trip
I recently attended Layer123’s SDN APAC Congress that was held June 4-6, 2013 in Singapore and Informa’s SDN World event June 11-13, 2013 in Barcelona, Spain. Below are some of my general observations after sitting through dozens of vendor and service provider presentations on SDN, NFV, and the future of our ever-dynamic industry.
First Observation- There is still general confusion about what SDN actually means and what SDN can do.
The definition of SDN seems to differ based upon who is using the term and in what context. I heard the term “SDN” used to denote NFV, OpenFlow, software programmable networks, and the strictest definition reflecting the separation of the control and data planes. It seems that just about every speaker started by presenting his or her definition of SDN.
In my opinion, we need to come to a consensus, at an industry level, of what the term “SDN” should mean.
Second observation- There are three areas of the network where SDN is generally referenced.
I realized after sitting through these presentations that when someone says “SDN” they could be referring to any one of the following separate and distinct areas of the network:
Data Centers- This seems to be where most of the time and attention is currently focused. We are starting to see real-life deployment examples, whereas a year ago, it was all hypothetical use cases.
Core Network- There seems to be just a few vendors that are talking about SDN in the core. I think there would be a natural fit with SDN and NFV at the core, but personally, I believe this will take a while
Metro Edge- Overture is the only company I know of that is focused on SDN and NFV for the access portion of the network - what we refer to as the Metro Edge. In many of my discussions at these events, people are quick to point out that virtualizing the metro edge “just makes sense.” After all, the metro edge is where the services actually are delivered.
Third observation- There seems to be general agreement on the expected benefits of SDN and NFV.
While there seems to be widespread confusion on the term SDN, it was quite clear that we have clarity on the expected benefits on leveraging SDN and NFV in carrier networks.
I feel comfortable summing the expected benefits of SDN and NFV into two main two categories:
- Reduced costs of delivering services
- Generation of new revenue
While the perported cost savings varied and the new revenue growth was not quantified, I heard these two benefits from almost every presenter. Of course, there were vast differences in how each proposed to realize them!
From what I heard and saw from leading service providers and vendors in the space, I believe SDN and NFV are going to transform the way service providers create, deploy and monetize their service offerings in the very near future. While we still have work to do as an industry, great strides are being made at an ever-increasing pace.
The ONF posted an official blog entry on the Singapore event. You can read it here
Get in and hold on- it’s going to be a fun ride!
Take a look at the photos below to get a feel for the event.
Delegates visit the exhibits at SDN APAC Congress in Singapore
Dan Pitt, Executive Director, Open Networking Foundation, discusses the progress of ONF and Open Flow at SDN APAC Congress in Singapore
Mike Aquino, President and CEO, Overture Networks, discusses Overture’s recent fundraising at SDN World in Barcelona, Spain.
Mike Aquino, President and CEO, Overture Networks, participates in an industry panel on “Investment Opportunities in the Emerging SDN Environment” SDN World in Barcelona, Spain.
About the Author-
Brian Irish is currently the Field Marketing Manager for Overture Networks. Brian leverages more than a decade of diverse marketing experience with global brands and small start-ups to drive a “field personnel” and “customer-first” perspective into Overture’s marketing efforts. Brian also currently volunteers on the marketing committees of the Metro Ethernet Forum and Open Networking Foundation. He holds a BS in Business Management from Brigham Young University- Idaho.