What does SDN mean for telecom infrastructure?

By Lee Doyle, principal analyst at Doyle Research, Network World |  Networking, SDN, Software-Defined Networking

A number of large equipment vendors have publicly discussed their SDN strategy, including Cisco, Juniper, Huawei, Infinera, ALU and Ciena. In fact, Cisco cited telecom SDN as its reason for recently acquiring Cariden for $141 million. And, there are a number of startups tying their products to telecom SDN, including Big Switch, ConteXtream, Cyan, Vello Systems and Intune Networks. The technology vendors are all vying for the attention of the big carriers that have expressed interest in SDN, including Verizon, Deutsche Telekom and NTT. These and other carriers hope SDN that can bring significant changes to their (relatively) static networks. But challenges remain, including:

  • What is the standard API (and its hardware dependencies)?
  • And how does one create an ecosystem of applications that leverage the programmability?
  • How to tie applications and traffic management systems to the underlying network infrastructure?

SDN is likely to reshape the telecom industry in new and interesting ways. Incumbent carriers are looking to increase the flexibility and manageability of their networks to deliver bandwidth where and when customers need it with a (more) self-serve model.

Large network equipment providers and startups are starting to invest heavily in new software centric network solutions. OpenFlow and other enterprise SDN technologies will emerge first in the cloud data centers of the large carriers. Telecom-specific SDN technologies (in both the transport and management areas) are coming to market during 2013 and will help carriers to improve their network flexibility and reduce network operations costs over the next three years.

Lee Doyle is Principal Analyst at Doyle Research. Doyle Research provides targeted analysis on the Evolution of Intelligent Networks: SDN, OPEX, and COTS. Lee Doyle has over 28 years experience analyzing the IT, network, and telecom markets. For more information please see doyle-research.com and email me at ldoyle@doyle-research.com.

Read more about lan and wan in Network World's LAN & WAN section.

Originally published on Network World |  Click here to read the original story.
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