As I mention
software-defined networking (SDN), you would probably think of large data centers.
This makes sense because
there is a strong association between SDN and cloud data centers, given that
the SDN technology was initially adopted and subsequently evolved from these
data centers. SDN was the secret sauce that allowed data centers to be more
profitable and agile. Therefore, SDN wasn’t something that these data
centers wanted to broadly share with the rest of the world. This hindered
development of SDN and made it difficult for other types of companies to see
the value of SDN.
It has only been within the last two years that SDN technologies have been let
out of the solitary confinement of data centers. Open communities such as
ETSI-NFV and OPNFV are starting to apply this basic idea of centralized
programmability to WAN, Metro and CPE equipment and alternate transports.
As carriers began to take notice, they realized that by using SDN, operators
were able to efficiently deliver high-quality services to a large end-user
community without ripping up their hardware on a regular basis. By
implementing a virtualized platform, carriers were able to increase network
speed and agility, therefore enhancing service delivery. This infrastructure
update also enabled carriers to address latency constraints and increased
ability to solve problems in real-time. These improvements have made their way
into the basic fabric of SDN.
Further, carrier networks have extended beyond their own walls to encompass
end users. They have extended these SDN/NFV concepts from the WAN to
customer on-premise devices. For example, Google rolled out its own
next-generation data centers, incorporating SDN and NFV into them. But they
also spread these concepts to the general public, providing new services,
faster speeds and better user experience.
SDN has expanded outside the data centers to end users and has offered
countless opportunities for other markets. However there has been some
hesitation from enterprises, since adopting SDN means a new area to manage,
new responsibilities and a whole new set of programming rules to learn. As a
respite, new applications are beginning to emerge that will make the value
proposition much stronger for the enterprises. For example, hybrid data
centers allow enterprises to farm out services from an enterprise’s
private data center to a public one and back. With SDN implemented, it becomes
very easy to move that data and workloads around to the place best-suited to
But why stop at just enterprise adoption? How about applying SDN techniques to
industrial, commercial and the various markets served by distributors? Due to
its flexibility, SDN offers countless opportunities for all these markets.
Once its reins come off and the industry becomes increasingly aware of its
advantages, the possibilities are endless!