Digital transformation is ushering in what the organizers of this year\u2019s Pacific Telecommunications Council\u2019s (PTC) 2018 global conference called \u201ca new decade of connections.\u201d The global trends driving digital include greater technology use, urbanization, data sovereignty, cybersecurity and global trade of digital services, as reported in the Global Interconnection Index, a market study published by Equinix. These macro trends are behind the creation of increasing amounts of data coming from new sources, such as digital media, artificial intelligence\/machine learning (AI\/ML), big data and security analytics, augmented\/virtual reality and the Internet of Things (IoT).\nThe dynamic and interactive characteristics of these technologies demand more elasticity than today\u2019s legacy backbone networks can deliver, as well as more flexible, agile and cost-effective low-latency and high-bandwidth connections to handle the digital deluge. In fact, the Global Interconnection Index predicts that by 2020, digital business will require over 5,000 terabits of Interconnection Bandwidth capacity to privately exchange data between businesses, outpacing the overall global growth of IP traffic, the internet and MPLS networks.\nThis is why the industry has turned to software-defined networking (SDN) and network functions (NFV) virtualization technologies to carry it into the digital future.\nHow SDN and NFV are being leveraged and monetized today\nSDN encompasses a variety of networking technologies that enable network and cloud engineers and administrators to respond quickly to changing business requirements via programmable controls and a centralized control console. It allows the physical separation of the network control plane (the brains) from the forwarding plane (the muscle). This enables the network control to be programmable and the underlying network infrastructure, which can made up of devices that are not specialized-network appliances, to be abstracted for multiple applications and network services (e.g., SDN cloud computing, mobile networks). Some of its capabilities include:\n\nA centralized view of the overall network\nProgrammatic application interfaces (APIs)\nEfficient orchestration and automation of network services\n\nNFV leverages standard IT virtualization technology to consolidate many network equipment types to reduce cost and improve flexibility, operability and maintainability. NFV is a vendor agnostic, common hardware design and some of its capabilities include:\n\nFlexible service creation, multi-tenancy\nSelf-provisioning and orchestration\nFlexible architecture, fast time to market\nResource pooling (compute, store, network)\n\nSuppliers and consumers of SDN and NFV have been working to fully capitalize on these two evolving technologies for the last decade, but there\u2019s still plenty of room to grow. Technology Business Research (TBR) reports that nearly three-quarters of leading Tier 1 operators have adopted or plan to adopt SDN and\/or NFV. TBR predicts the total SDN\/NFV spend from 2016 to 2022 will grow 94.3% CAGR to over $168 billion. One way we see our customers monetizing the \u201csoftening\u201d of their network infrastructures is in transforming legacy wide area network (WAN) infrastructures with SD-WANs. In its April 2017 report, \u201cTechnology Insight for Software-Defined WAN (SD-WAN),\u201d Gartner outlines the substantial business gains by deploying SD-WANs when compared to traditional WANs. According to the report, the five-year SD-WAN hardware, software and support costs are 40% to 80% lower than traditional routers, and organizations can spend 50% to 90% less time configuring SDN-enabled branch hardware versus routers. Those are huge savings!\nHow to get to software-defined everything\u2026for everyone, everywhere\nTo succeed in this new global economy, businesses need to form global partnerships within and among digital and business ecosystems that can leverage proximity for the direct and secure exchange of data. That proximity gives them the power to create a more dynamic, physical and virtual distributed interconnected and integrated solutions for a worldwide digital user base.\nAn SDN-based interconnection fabric enables businesses to leverage the vital synergies of a hybrid IT infrastructure that blends on-premises and vendor-neutral multi-tenant data centers, networks, clouds, applications, data and security to create globally integrated, end-to-end digital solutions for their customers.\nLegacy carrier-based network vs. an SDN-based interconnection fabric\nWe see SDN\/NFV infrastructures playing a critical role in the digital transformation of global digital business in a number of areas. For example:\n\nStrategically placing programmable interconnection capabilities for IT traffic exchange and control at the edge to access critical, latency-sensitive IT services, applications and data\/analytics assets\nEnabling fast access to hybrid and multicloud services that are proximate to applications, data and users. This speeds time to market, accelerates scalability and ensures reliable redundancy for business continuity and disaster recovery.\nEasing the consumption of network bandwidth for data exchange using a choice of providers to reduce costs\nEmbracing more dynamic business models (virtualization, IoT, AI\/ML, etc.) by leveraging agile software technologies, rather than investing in more expensive, specialized hardware\nLeveraging APIs and DevOp orchestration tools to automate and facilitate innovation and efficient and effective development processes\n\nBy evangelizing a \u201cSDN-everything\u201d strategy throughout your company, you can push greater levels of interconnection out at the edge and capitalize on a more effective and cost-efficient hybrid IT infrastructure to grow your digital business, delivering greater performance at the best cost.