Why should the Public Sector be considering SDN & NFV?


Rightly so, the vast-majority of discussions surrounding the integration and deployment of both SDN & NFV technologies has focused on the telecommunication businesses. When we look at the headlines, every day we see the likes of Deutsche Telekom, BT or du making substantial progress – but what about Enterprise and the Public Sector – they’ve been relatively quiet to date.

Enter Bristol Is Open.

As of spring 2015, the centre of Bristol is home to three new fast networks. Each project will be managed by the ’Bristol Is Open’ Joint Venture between the University of Bristol and Bristol City Council. It is delivering research and development initiatives that contribute to the development of a smart city.

The active, wireless and mesh network will be technology agnostic, built on open network principles, using software defined network technologies, to enable network function virtualisation in the future.

Headed up by Managing Director Paul Wilson and Chief Technology Officer Professor Dimitra Simeonidou, the initiative is certainly making substantial and successful progress, but it does open up a number of other questions.

What about the rest of the Public Sector?

Although quiet at the moment, there are some moves being made and research being conducted. But what are the tangible benefits to Government departments, Local Authorities and Public Services organizations?

1. Consolidation of complex and inefficient networks

SDN can simplify network infrastructure and provide government administrators with a centralized point of control to manage the entire consolidated network. Recently, the US Department of Defence closed a number of data centres in an effort to reduce expenditure; however implementation of SDN technologies could further save budget by consolidating dozens of individual networks spread throughout the states into one substantially more efficient software-driven network.

2. Scalability

Let’s consider how governments work. As with the private sector, activity generally scales down during the summer periods (especially when you consider Education); other areas, for instance healthcare, increase dramatically in others (Christmas).

The significant benefits of scalability would seemingly be more prominent here, that any other industry! The opportunity to significantly reduce expenditure (always a plus for the incumbent government) is a huge bonus.

3. Network automation

Irrelevant of where you are based worldwide, politicians and public sector employees face the same challenges; why are you spending the tax payer hard-earned money inefficiently? There are some calls to run government more like a business, which would demonstrate the appeal for SDN & NFV technologies, and also stimulate a move from manual network management to a model more based on automation.

The benefits are clear here; automation allows administrators to relinquish some of the responsibilities freeing up time to focus on other tasks – surely a relatively simple choice.

As with all other aspects of Government and the Public Sector, implementation is likely to be slow. The benefits are there and plain to all; let’s hope this trend can be broken.

During September (16-17), IIR’s 4th Annual Network Virtualization Forum, will be taking place in Madrid. With speakers already confirmed from the likes of Deutsche Telekom, Telecom Italia, ETSI NFV ISG, MEF, du, Portugal Telecom, Telefonica, INTUG, BICS, TeliaSonera and T-Systems, the conference will address the more practical side of SDN & NFV; what is the roadmap to deployment and how can we monetize the networks?

The meeting will also feature a keynote address from Bristol Is Open Managing Director Paul Wilson and Chief Technology Officer Professor Dimitra Simeonidou, to discuss the implementation of the SDN-based network.

If you have an interest in attending or speaking at the meeting, drop me through a quick email (Jamie.davies@iir-telecom.com)

IIR background

4th Annual Network Virtualization Forum, Europe
Dates: 16-17 September 2015 (with a LSO pre-conference workshop hosted by MEF on the 15th)
Location: Melia Avenida, Madrid

Pre-order the conference brochure right here

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