5 Misconceptions about SDN

Myths-and-FactsAs with any new technologies, not everyone will understand it. Some will understand the basics and not the implications, some just won’t understand at all.

With this in mind, there are likely to be a number of myths and misconceptions surrounding the development and implementation of SDN – we’re hoping to dispel a couple of them here

1. SDN is simply a network upgrade

One of the largest misconceptions is that SDN is simple a process to improve the network, an upgrade if you will. This couldn’t be much further from the truth, as the implication and implementation of SDN (and in most case alongside NFV) will fundamentally change the manner in which we design, build, manage and optimize networks.

There is substantially more to SDN that simply upgrading the network

2. SDN is for Operators (Service Providers) only

This is part-true, but changing very quickly. True, the technology has been designed for the Operators. True, the early adopters have all been Operators. And true, the majority of the benefits are geared towards the Operators.

However, whilst optimized for Operators currently, there are (or will be) SDN products designed for Enterprise and the Public Sector. Simply look at the partnership between Bristol City Council and Bristol University in the UK, “Bristol Is Open” (http://www.bristolisopen.com/, http://uk.nec.com/en_GB/press/201503/20150310_03.html) – there are huge opportunities outside the telecommunications industry.

This is a one of the very few examples at the moment, though there are rumours of a number of other organizations researching the potential benefits of SDN (and NFV as well). To name a few… BBC, Bank of America, Samsung, BMW, Hoffman La Roche, Credit Suisse…

Clearly there is at least some potential outside of the Telecommunications industry

3. SDN and NFV are completely different

As with any new technology, there are going to be early adopters, and those who will sit back and wait for the technology to be perfected, before making any concerted efforts to implement the technology.

When talking to the early adopters, some will highlight that they are either investigating SDN or NFV, will little consideration into the relationship between the two.

Yes, they are separate (and different) technologies, though they are highly complementary. SDN with complement and enhance the performance of NFV, and vice-versa. Some organizations will need both, some will need one without the other and some will need neither.

Although this is not necessarily proving the myth incorrect, SDN and NFV are different, though both are significantly improved by the presence of the other

4. SDN is the only option to increase network agility

SDN is not the only option available to improve the agility, it is simply one which (1) has demonstrated the most tangible progress in recent years, and (2) is the most media friendly (at least for the moment). Network Virtualization and Network Function Virtualization are two other concepts which can dramatically improve the overall agility of the networks.

5. SDN can’t be utilized outside of the Data Centre

To date, the story behind SDN has been focused around the data centre. By its definition, implementing SDN within the Data Centre (a controlled environment) is a much more

The benefits of SDN in the data centre are clear, but looking outside the data centre, SDN holds incredible potential in the WAN and campus.

That said, the technology is also easily applicable to the WAN and campus. Bandwidth is growing, and SDN presents a possible solution to rising costs on WAN and campus networks. The example above (Bristol Is Open) is just one of many.

If you can provide insight and a business case for the implementation of SDN and NFV in a real-world environment, I’d be very interested in hearing from you.

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?

If you have an interest in attending or speaking at the meeting, drop me through a quick email.

Jamie Davies: Jamie.davies@iir-telecom.com

IIR background

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

Pre-order the conference brochure right here


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