Light Reading

Network Managers Cite SDN Roadblocks

Mitch Wagner

My first thought about the findings of a recent SDN study from the OpenDaylight Project was that it was the least surprising thing I've seen since the ship sank at the end of the movie Titanic. But then I read further and found some interesting items.

The report found surprising support for SDN from both service providers and enterprises. Sure, we knew they were interested. But we didn't know how interested they were. (See Defining SDN & NFV.)

More than half of respondents said they intend to deploy SDN and NFV this year, and 97% of them by next year. Data centers are the primary initial targets for service providers (42%), while enterprises are more interested in wide area networks.

Near-term improvements in network operations are "the primary focus for operators looking to deploy SDN and NFV solutions and take advantage of open source within their SDN and NFV environments," the report concludes.

Possible roadblocks to adoption include migration costs and unproven performance and reliability. Interoperability is the least of the concerns with SDN and NFV, according to the report.

Security and reliability are the biggest impediments to using open source when deploying SDN and NFV, cited by 49% and 35% of respondents respectively, the report says. Some 67% of respondents rank security vulnerabilities as the primary concern.

What were the main findings of the report, the ones that we found so obvious? The study found overwhelming support for open source SDN and NFV, from 95% of respondents. Also, 76% of networking pros want to get their open source solutions from commercial suppliers.

In other words: A corporate-supported open source organization found widespread support for open source solutions procured from commercial suppliers. Astonishing!

The OpenDaylight Project produced the Hydrogen open source SDN platform a month ago, just 10 months after work started. (See OpenDaylight Unveils Open-Source SDN Controller.) OpenDaylight is a collaborative project under the Linux Foundation. Board members include representatives from Citrix Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CTXS), Red Hat Inc. (Nasdaq: RHAT), Brocade Communications Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: BRCD), Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO), and more.

We think open source, OpenDaylight, the Linux Foundation, and commercial suppliers are terrific. But this report isn't OpenDaylight's finest moment. The report is based on the results of a survey, conducted by Gigaom Research, of 600 IT decision makers and technologists in medium to large organizations in North America in December. Half of the organizations were service providers, and half were enterprises.

Find a copy of the report here: SDN, NFV, and Open Source: The Operator's View.

Sorry if you didn't already know that thing about Titanic. I guess it's too late for me to yell, "SPOILER ALERT!"

— Mitch Wagner, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading Circle me on Google+ Follow me on TwitterVisit my LinkedIn profileFollow me on Facebook Got a tip about SDN or NFV? Send it to


Want to learn more about SDN and the transport network? Check out the agenda for 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 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.

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Mitch Wagner
Mitch Wagner,
User Rank: Lightning
3/20/2014 | 6:56:06 PM
Re: Open ended
I've been doing a lot of research recently into SDN roadblocks. One of the biggest problems is that there are a variety of different definitions and flavors to SDN. It confuses network managers. 
sam masud
sam masud,
User Rank: Light Sabre
3/20/2014 | 2:12:31 PM
Open ended
Will be interesting to see when it comes to buying SDN, whether customers go for an OpenDaylight controller or whether it's okay with them as long as they can get the source code, e.g.,  Juniper OpenContrail which does not include service and support.

I would not want to lay any bets until I see how customers are voting with their check books because, at the end of the day, they're looking to get a grip on capex/opex.


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