Light Reading

Empowering End-Users Through Open SDN

Dan Pitt
Column
Dan Pitt
5/28/2014
50%
50%

SDN may be a new development, but there is already a bevy of key players in the space and more joining the effort every day. Startups and established vendors, software developers and chipmakers, user groups and standards bodies -- everyone seems to be getting their hands on SDN.

It's a great time for the networking industry, especially for the end-users who will see direct benefits from these technologies.

But this game-changer also offers exciting possibilities for the future of the network as a whole: networking solutions without vendor lock-in; putting control back into the hands of end-users; directly tying network (and IT) operation to business priorities; flexible, service-independent infrastructure; discussions throughout the entire networking industry, from hardware to software to consumer; the potential for a vibrant, truly open ecosystem with unprecedented choice. That's why the word "open" is on everyone's lips.

In defining openness, we refer to initiatives that are not controlled by a single party. We want to get as many hands as possible in the SDN movement, and we want equal opportunity for contribution from the broad spectrum of organizations affected. This is why the Open Networking Foundation (ONF) fosters dialogue between vendors and customers; works directly with organizations such as OpenDaylight, the Open Compute Project, and ETSI NFV; has a Board of Directors composed entirely of major, committed SDN end-users; and encourages participation and innovation from companies of all sizes. The reality is that, if the concept of the marketplace of ideas holds steady, we must ensure that many voices are heard.

To have openness within the SDN ecosystem, we believe that standards play a significant role. Standards provide the framework and the guidelines for enabling solutions that are not only open but also interoperable. They can be de jure (defined by committees) or de facto (defined by the marketplace), and market demands associated with the standard determine which means of definition is preferred.

For example, consider the difference between protocols and interfaces. Both can be highly effective standards if they are chosen at the right places, fostering innovation around them once they are agreed. But protocols are essentially the languages that networks speak across physical links, while interfaces are points of connection between network components, such as equipment or protocol layers, allowing information to move throughout a system. Open, vendor-neutral, standard protocols are vital and useful to the SDN community. They ensure that SDN solutions speak the same language, encouraging an interoperable marketplace.

But establishing these standards through a competitive marketplace would be time-consuming and costly, or not even possible if the costs incurred included custom ASIC development. Therefore, a committee is the preferred method for protocol standardization.

In contrast, open, standard interfaces, especially software APIs, are best suited to being de facto standards, because they can be easily iterated and improved on within the marketplace. Nonetheless, it is still important that the industry does everything possible to ensure that whatever interface becomes popular and standardized within the market is still vendor-neutral and not controlled by a single party.

Those who develop standards also play an important role in ensuring that they be open. From ONF's standpoint, standards should be created by those within the industry who have a financial stake in their outcome and can control when they are implemented. The reality is that end-users do not make products -- vendors do. However, operators have a direct impact on the industry because they create services out of products and have direct control over anything that is implemented within their networks. They experience SDN's benefits. It is of particular interest to them that the solutions they purchase and the software their networks leverage be open and interoperable. They should be actively helping to determine what is standardized de facto and de jure because they are directly affected by these decisions as customers.

ONF strongly encourages -- and enjoys -- the participation of end-users in the organization's efforts as we work on and build upon standards for SDN.

The goal of the SDN movement is to change the domain from hardware to software and to put the software in the hands of the network operator. It is a huge shift, and we understand that it will take time for networks (and organizations) to make the transition. We are doing everything we can to simplify the process, and we continue to sense a great deal of optimism from the end-user community. The more we engage with customers, the more we begin to understand the empowerment that they associate with taking control of the network once again. Power is shifting from vendors to end-users, and from lock-in to open and interoperable, and the enthusiasm that we are observing is inspirational.

— Dan Pitt, Executive Director, Open Networking Foundation, and Marc Cohn, Chair, ONF Market Education Committee and Senior Director, Market Development, Ciena


Dan Pitt is a keynote speaker at Light Reading's Big Telecom Event (BTE), which will take place on June 17 and 18 at the Sheraton Chicago Hotel and Towers. The event, for which the ONF is a founding partner, combines the educational power of interactive conference sessions devised and hosted by Heavy Reading's experienced industry analysts with multi-vendor interoperability and proof-of-concept networking and application showcases. For more on the event, the topics, and the stellar service provider speaker lineup, see Telecommunication Luminaries to Discuss the Hottest Industry Trends at Light Reading's Big Telecom Event in June.


(2)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
DanPitt
50%
50%
DanPitt,
User Rank: Light Beer
5/29/2014 | 5:43:00 PM
Re: Empowering End-Users Through Open SDN
Hi, DHagar. Thank you for your comment, and I'm grateful to hear of your shared belief. Software is a real game-changer, and as the movement progresses, it is of utmost importance that we focus on open SDN and the needs of users. It's an exciting time in the networking industry! Dan Pitt
DHagar
50%
50%
DHagar,
User Rank: Light Sabre
5/28/2014 | 8:45:33 PM
Empowering End-Users Through Open SDN
Dan, these are very positive developments.  It sounds as if your organization is going about this in a very thoughtful way.  I think the emphasis on standards and responding to the end users is key, as meeting their demands will create the growing markets for SDN.

It sounds as if this is a maturing process that will really establish SDN.  I share your belief that software is the key.
More Blogs from Column
Bigger. And Better. But definitely bigger.
When trying to develop innovative technologies, engineers must be willing to take risks, make mistakes and move ahead incrementally without having all the data.
Mobile network operators have the network and a business model that makes them well suited to lead the charge as the Internet of Things (IoT) takes off.
Gathering useful information for real-time management of Ethernet and IP networks is a non-trivial issue.
There are three important questions service providers need to address for in-market and out-of-market expansion.
Flash Poll
From The Founder
The New IP is actually bigger even than business. Like another hugely important tech that Light Reading is digging into right now, the New IP has the potential to change the world by fundamentally advancing what it is possible for people to achieve with communications.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei Shares Its Vision of the Future of Mobile Networks Innovations

2|26|15   |   2:30   |   (0) comments


Mobile broadband is changing our lives. It's reshaping the Internet, industry, and society. It allows us to freely connect with one another anytime, anywhere. At this year's Mobile World Congress, Huawei will share its latest insights and newest ideas and technologies that will shape the future of MBB. They will showcase their end-to-end MBB solutions that will ...
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Accelerate Digitizing, Boost Digital Business

2|26|15   |   6:14   |   (0) comments


A new digital revolution is leading us to a better connected world. Together with millions of digital partners, Huawei will help CSPs to build their digital service ecosystem and aggregate a wide variety of digital services. In this video, we find out how Huawei is going to help CSPs implement digital operations.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
The Secret Recipe to Enabling Hyper-Growth Industries

2|26|15   |   3:38   |   (0) comments


With a number of successful cases on network capability exposure, Huawei is going to share the secret recipe to enabling hyper-growth markets with a step-by-step approach.
LRTV Documentaries
BTE 2015 Is Bigger & Even Better

2|25|15   |   03:13   |   (4) comments


This year's Big Telecom Event (BTE) in Chicago is going to provide more opportunities than ever for networking, getting to grips with key industry challenges and opportunities and, equally as important, having some fun.
LRTV Interviews
Light Reading ICT Leaders Roundtable at MWC 2015

2|12|15   |   1:07   |   (2) comments


On Sunday March 1, 2015, Light Reading will host an ICT Leaders Roundtable in partnership with Huawei. At this half-day event, CIOs, analysts and researchers will discuss key industry trends like virtualization in the cloud with a specific focus on new business models. Located at the luxurious Renaissance Hotel near the Fira Barcelona, space is limited so please ...
LRTV Documentaries
Going Green in 2015

2|12|15   |   02:04   |   (0) comments


Energy efficiency is set to be an incredibly hot topic in the telecom industry this year.
LRTV Custom TV
SDN & NFV: Where Are We Going From Here?

2|11|15   |   11:27   |   (0) comments


Vitesse Semiconductor CTO Martin Nuss gives his perspective on why SDN and NFV should be tightly interconnected and how he sees the industry moving forward.
LRTV Documentaries
Time for Gigabit Europe?

2|9|15   |   01:27   |   (4) comments


Gigabit broadband networks are springing up all around the US and they'll soon become more commonplace in Europe.
LRTV Interviews
Brocade Brings New IP Vision to 2020 Vision Executive Summit

2|3|15   |   4:23   |   (0) comments


In December 2014, Light Reading gathered telecom executives in Reykjavik, Iceland to discuss their vision for high-capacity networks through the end of the decade. The intimate, interactive meeting was set against the backdrop of Iceland's spectacular natural beauty. As one of the event's founding sponsors, Brocade's Kelly Herrell shared his company's strategy at ...
LRTV Interviews
Brocade's Kelly Herrell on the New IP

2|2|15   |   12:36   |   (0) comments


In December 2014, Steve Saunders sat down with Brocade VP of Software Networking Kelly Herrell at Light Reading's 2020 Vision executive summit in Reykjavik, Iceland. They spoke about Brocade's approach to the New IP, the future of the telecom industry, and more.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Dr. Dong Sun Talks About Carriers' Digital Transformation & Huawei’s Telco OS

1|29|15   |   6:28   |   (0) comments


Dr. Dong Sun, Chief Architect of Digital Transformation Solutions at Huawei, discusses how telecom operators can become digital ecosystem enablers and deliver optimal user experiences that are in real-time, on-demand, all-online, DIY and social (ROADS).
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei's Chief Network Architect Talks about Network Experience & Operators’ Strategies

1|29|15   |   3:39   |   (0) comments


In the digital age, network experience has become the primary productivity especially for telecom operators. In this video, Wenshuan Dang, Huawei’s Chief Network Architect, discusses how carriers can tackle the challenge of infrastructure complexity in order to enhance business agility and improve user experience.
Upcoming Live Events
March 17, 2015, The Cable Center, Denver, CO
April 14, 2015, The Westin Times Square, New York City, NY
May 12, 2015, Grand Hyatt, Denver, CO
May 13-14, 2015, The Westin Peachtree, Atlanta, GA
June 8, 2015, Chicago, IL
June 9-10, 2015, Chicago, IL
June 9, 2015, Chicago, IL
June 10, 2015, Chicago, IL
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
Net neutrality, broadband services and the current outlook on data consumption, as presented by the New Jersey Institute of Technology.
Hot Topics
Cyber Security Expert Warns: You're Doing It Wrong
Sarah Thomas, Editorial Operations Director, 2/23/2015
10 Weirdly Useful IoT Devices
Eryn Leavens, Copy Desk Editor, 2/24/2015
Small Cells Enabling Location Services
Sarah Thomas, Editorial Operations Director, 2/25/2015
FCC Adopts Title II Rules
Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, 2/26/2015
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
Webinar Archive
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
Check out Light Reading's interview with Jay Samit, the newly appointed CEO of publicly traded SeaChange International Inc. With a resume that includes Sony, EMI, and Universal, Samit brings a reputation as an entrepreneur and a disruptor to his new role at the video solutions company. Hear what he had to say about the opportunities in video, as well as the outlook for cable, telco, OTT and mobile service providers.
G'day! And welcome to an entirely new feature on Light Reading -- our weekly "CEO-to-CEO" interview.