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SDN – It’s Just Logical

Aug 28, 20143 mins

It’s one area that enterprises and services providers can agree on

SDN uncouples network logic from the hardware, so you can in theory run your networking software on any commodity server. That – along with breaking away from proprietary big box networking devices – is plenty to get an enterprise decision-maker excited.

BizTech magazine writer Ricky Ribeiro recently wrote that software-defined networking (SDN) is a wise choice for the financial services industry where, he noted, it’s data, not money, that is worth its weight in gold.

“Because of the simultaneous demands for real-time and historical data, the age-old silos of storage, compute and network make little to no sense in an age in which applications need agility and flexibility,” Ribeiro observed. “And when you start talking about agility and flexibility, you have to start talking about software-defined networking.”

That’s great for the enterprise, but what’s in it for carriers? According to eWeek, “Service providers and network operators are seeing rising competition from such over-the-top (OTT) threats as Google and Skype, and are looking for ways to not only reduce capital and operating expenses, but also to spin out services for customers more quickly.”

According to a report by market research firm Infonetics, “Nearly every operator Infonetics surveyed plans to deploy SDN (97%) or NFV (93%) in some aspect of their network at some point.”

In both the carrier and enterprise realms, SDN adds up to speed, agility, flexibility and lower costs. Now, to be fair, there’s still some carrier skepticism around SDN and if they had to choose between two courses of action, most would opt for NFV. Kelly Herrell, vice president and general manager of software networking at Brocade and founder and former CEO of Vyatta told eWeek that NFV is more mature. “It’s modular and much easier to consume.”

But carriers have to be cognizant of what their enterprise customers want and with SDN gathering steam, so too are they. That was underscored recently by the announcement of the Brocade Vyatta Platform, the first phase of a multiyear strategy that delivers an open and modular networking platform for cloud and telecommunications service providers.

“The architecture of the Brocade Vyatta Platform is comprised of three core layers: NFV Connection Services, SDN Structural Services and Functional Orchestration,” according to the Brocade announcement. “Each layer of this open architecture is modular and enables customers to select the products and/or solutions that fit their particular data center requirements.”

The stated goals for this new platform are interoperability and customer choice. As SDN Central Managing Editor Craig Matsumoto observed, “Key to the whole strategy is that Brocade is targeting service providers’ clouds – which tend to be built for subscribers, as opposed to an applications cloud such as Amazon Web Services.”

By adopting a software platform approach, says Brocade, customers gain control over each layer of their infrastructure to ensure they leverage the right components and adapt more quickly to changing business conditions.