& cplSiteName &

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.

ó 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        ADD A COMMENT
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
Spectrum sharing is becoming a bigger issue as the 5G radio specification evolves.
Addressing current and future app demands while laying the foundation for mobile's next big network transition.
Broadcasters can no longer rely on pulling audiences to the TV screen; they need to pursue their audiences on digital, wherever they are.
Why advanced data analytics are the future for streaming video services.
5G could ride the traditional wireless hype cycle, or – quite possibly – break the chain, suggests Nokia's North American CTO.
From The Founder
Light Reading today starts a new voyage as part of a larger Enterprise.
Flash Poll
Live Streaming Video
Charting the CSP's Future
Six different communications service providers join to debate their visions of the future CSP, following a landmark presentation from AT&T on its massive virtualization efforts and a look back on where the telecom industry has been and where it's going from two industry veterans.
LRTV Interviews
Cox Clears $2B in Business Revenue

12|8|16   |     |   (0) comments


Cox's Jeff Breaux discusses how the third-largest US MSO will reach the $2 billion revenue mark this year and plans to hit $3 billion by 2021
LRTV Interviews
Can Cable Climb Upmarket?

12|7|16   |     |   (0) comments


Carol Wilson and Alan Breznick assess cable's prospects for winning more enterprises in a landscape rocked by corporate M&A activity.
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
TalkTalk Exec: Find Your North Star at Work

12|7|16   |   3:38   |   (1) comment


Women need to find their purpose, a professional North Star, and create a personal board for themselves, according to Alex Tempest, director of partners at TalkTalk Business.
LRTV Interviews
Verizon: Beware Unknown Unknowns

12|7|16   |   04:58   |   (0) comments


Chris Novak, director of the Verizon Enterprise Solutions Risk Team, explains that enterprises who don't conduct a thorough audit of their assets often leave some things unprotected because they don't know they exist. Many times these unprotected assets are part of corporate M&A activity but left unshielded they can become a hacker's playground, he tells Light ...
LRTV Interviews
ETSI's CTO Talks NFV, 5G & NGP

12|5|16   |   09:45   |   (0) comments


Adrian Scrase, CTO at standards body ETSI, talks about the various initiatives and specifications developments related to NFV, 5G and NGP (next-generation protocols) that will underpin next-gen networks.
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
Korn Ferry Consultant: How to Find, Cultivate & Be the Best Talent

11|30|16   |   4:10   |   (2) comments


Erin Callaghan, a managing consultant for Korn Ferry Futurestep, shares strategies for companies to improve how they recruit and for women to ensure they don't get lost in the pipeline.
LRTV Custom TV
We Can Make the World More Sustainable

11|29|16   |     |   (0) comments


GeSI is a global e-Sustainability Initiative organization bringing together 40 big multinational companies around the world. According to GeSI's report, information and communication technology can make the world more sustainable. Luis Neves, chairman of GeSI, shared with us his opinion at Ultra-broadband Forum (UBBF2016).
LRTV Custom TV
Finding a New Way to Engage Customers & Drive Revenue

11|29|16   |     |   (0) comments


Mobile revenues are declining. Digicel, a player in the Caribbean telecommunications/entertainment space, has found a new way to engage customers and drive revenue. John Quinn, CTO of Digicel, shared with us its story at Ultra-broadband Forum (UBBF2016)
LRTV Custom TV
Do You Really Need Gigabit Infrastructure?

11|29|16   |     |   (0) comments


Altibox is the biggest fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) player and the largest provider of video and TV in Norway. They started out with zero customers in 2002. Now they have close to half a million households and companies attached to their FTTH business. Nils Arne, CEO of Altibox shared with us their story and insight on 5G at Ultra-broadband Forum (UBBF2016).
LRTV Custom TV
BTís Openreach Strategy & Its Updates in 2016

11|29|16   |     |   (0) comments


A lot of developments at Openreach this year in terms of strategy and planned investments. Peter Bell, CIO of Openreach BT, shared with us the updates of Openreach at Ultra-broadband Forum (UBBF2016).
LRTV Custom TV
ITU: The Broadband Is Our Future

11|29|16   |     |   (0) comments


At Ultra-broadband Forum, Houlin Zhao, Secretary General of ITU, discussed how important it is for countries, companies and everybody to be working together to help to build the broadband and digital economies (UBBF2016).
LRTV Custom TV
Tackling 5G in Dallas

11|28|16   |     |   (0) comments


Here are our highlights of the 5G North America show in Dallas, Texas with Light Reading's Dan Jones.
Upcoming Live Events
May 16-17, 2017, Austin Convention Center, Austin, TX
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
Hot Topics
Cable Nodes Becoming a Choke Point
Brian Santo, Senior editor, Test & Measurement / Components, Light Reading, 12/5/2016
WiCipedia: After-School Coding, Salary Probing & Pro-Parenthood Companies
Eryn Leavens, Special Features & Copy Editor, 12/2/2016
Consolidated Snaps Up Fairpoint for $1.5B
Iain Morris, News Editor, 12/5/2016
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
Eyal Waldman, CEO of Mellanox Technologies, speaks to Steve Saunders, CEO of Light Reading, for an exclusive interview about the 100 GB cable challenge, cybersecurity and much more.
Join us for an in-depth interview between Steve Saunders of Light Reading and Alexis Black Bjorlin of Intel as they discuss the release of the company's Silicon Photonics platform, its performance, long-term prospects, customer expectations and much more.
Animals with Phones
A Mobile Safari Click Here
Literally.
Latest Comment
Live Digital Audio

Even when there's a strong pipeline of female talent in the comms industry, it tends to leak all the way to the top. McKinsey & Company says women experience pipeline leakage at three primary points: being unable to enter, being stuck in the middle or being locked out of the top. Each pipeline pain point presents its own challenges, but also opportunities to stop the leak. Wireless operator Sprint is making a conscious effort to improve its own pipeline from new recruits to the C-suite, and it wants the rest of the industry to do the same. In this Women in Comms radio show, WiC Board Member and Sprint Vice President of Enterprise Sales Nelly Pitocco will give us her take on the industry's pipeline challenges. Pitocco, who joined Sprint in May and has spent 20 years in the comms industry, will also offer solutions, share how Sprint is tackling the challenge within its own organization and take your questions live on air.