Light Reading
Software-defined networking (SDN) and OpenFlow controllers together will allow for more efficient services from data center operators

SDN & OpenFlow: Creating a More Efficient Data Center

Heavy Lifting Analyst Notes
Heavy Lifting Analyst Notes
Heavy Lifting Analyst Notes
12/10/2012
50%
50%

It's hard not to be skeptical about software-defined networking (SDN). Hyped as tech's next big thing, SDN could just as easily end up being the next big bubble to pop. But SDN has something going for it that makes me optimistic: Service providers are in the driver's seat this time, not equipment vendors.

The Open Networking Foundation (ONF) -- which gets credit for coining the term SDN and is responsible for overseeing development of the OpenFlow protocol -- is led by some of the world's largest data center operators, including Deutsche Telekom AG (NYSE: DT), Facebook , Goldman Sachs Group, Google (Nasdaq: GOOG), Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT), NTT Communications Corp. (NYSE: NTT), Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) and Yahoo Inc. (Nasdaq: YHOO). Several of those companies and others successfully use SDN for virtual networking in their data centers. Some, such as NTT Communications, are even going as far as developing their own SDN controller software. And these data center operators are sticking together when it comes to working on standards, preferring to focus on the ONF rather than the vendor-dominated Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF).

SDN is not a technology looking for a market. It is technology that data center and network operators are demanding because they are tired of waiting months or even years for switching and routing equipment vendors to incorporate the features they want and need. And in the case of data center operators in particular, they desperately need networking technology to keep pace with the server virtualization that has revolutionized their businesses.

By separating control from forwarding in the network and then centralizing the control in software, SDN promises to help operators and enterprises accomplish tasks such as network configuration and provisioning, load balancing and security policy enforcement more quickly, more efficiently and less expensively. And centralized control lays the groundwork for SDN's first killer app: data center network virtualization.

The promise of network virtualization motivated VMware Inc. (NYSE: VMW) to spend a whopping $1.26 billion on startup controller vendor Nicira Networks Inc. -- a move that validated SDN as a technology and OpenFlow as a protocol. Now software startups and incumbent hardware vendors are trying to capitalize on the centralized programmable network controller as one of the first real SDN market opportunities.

The latest Heavy Reading Insider, "OpenFlow Controllers: Implementing SDN in the Data Center explores how operators are using SDN, and it examines the competing ideas for how to deliver applications, such as virtualization, load balancing and policy enforcement. It's too early to draw conclusions about whether standalone SDN controllers will be profitable when the controller functionality could end up bundled with the applications themselves. It's even premature to say that OpenFlow will be the de facto standard for linking control software with equipment, but it has early momentum with data center operators using it today in production environments.

What is clear is that data center and network operators have more power right now than they have ever had in determining how they provision and deliver services. That's a position they've longed to be in for all of the 25 years that I've covered networking, and it certainly gives me hope that SDN is the real deal.

— Dawn Bushaus, Analyst, Heavy Reading Insider


OpenFlow Controllers: Implementing SDN in the Data Center, a 25-page report, is available as part of an annual subscription (12 monthly issues) to Heavy Reading Insider, priced at $1,595. This report is available for $900. To subscribe, please visit: www.heavyreading.com/insider.

(0)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
More Blogs from Heavy Lifting Analyst Notes
The challenges associated with small cell deployments, the impact of virtualization, and the demand for dark fiber are just some of the topics to be debated at the upcoming Backhaul Strategies conference in New York City.
The news that Apple's new iPhone 6 will now support Voice over LTE kind of a big deal.
Network functions virtualization is the key catalyst underpinning telco data center transformation, believes Nokia Networks.
The growth of the smartphone market is creating a new testing ground for vendors that must find a way to keep ahead of the game.
As more and more applications move into the cloud, enterprises must ensure that those clouds are rigorously tested for performance.
Flash Poll
From The Founder
Is your network built on 'The Old IP,' or are you part of 'The New IP' revolution?
LRTV Documentaries
A Cultural Shift for an OTT World

9|26|14   |   01:41   |   (3) comments


Telcos need to embrace a new approach to partnerships if they are to generate extra revenues quickly and give customers what they want.
LRTV Documentaries
New Skills Needed as Telecom, IT Collide

9|26|14   |   4:07   |   (1) comment


As telecom and IT collide, new technologies are emerging, new skills are needed and new opportunities for women are arising.
UBB Forum News
Do IP Networks Need An Overhaul?

9|25|14   |   02:01   |   (0) comments


As traffic levels ramp, do IP networks need new technologies and topologies?
LRTV Documentaries
Sprint Wields Its Influence in the Valley

9|25|14   |   3:09   |   (10) comments


Anne-Louise Kardas, Sprint's connection to startups in the Valley, explains how telcos can be innovative and find new opportunities with partners.
LRTV Documentaries
SDN, NFV & The Future of XO's Network

9|25|14   |   3:47   |   (0) comments


XO Communications COO Don MacNeil explains how cloud, SDN and NFV are altering its network requirements as well as changing data centers of the future.
UBB Forum News
The OTT Conundrum

9|24|14   |   01:39   |   (0) comments


What is holding back prosperous partnerships between telcos and the OTT players?
LRTV Documentaries
Putting Broadband to Work

9|24|14   |   01:26   |   (0) comments


High-speed broadband network rollout is key to telco strategies, but it's what happens after the network is built that counts.
Light Reedy
Light Reading's Women in Telecom Recap

9|24|14   |   0:55   |   (4) comments


Our first Women in Telecom breakfast was a huge success, and we hope you'll join us in London for the next event on November 6.
UBB Forum News
Monetizing Ultra-Broadband

9|24|14   |   01:43   |   (2) comments


Ultra-broadband networks need to be built, with fiber-to-the-premises the ultimate goal, but they need to be monetized, too.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Sales Director of INIT on Plug & Play Switch Devices

9|19|14   |   3:21   |   (0) comments


INIT Italy uses both the Huawei S5700 and S7700 series switches for the campus LAN environment. Sales Director Andrea Curti says their company chose these Huawei devices over others because of their performance, flexible scalability and plug-and-play features.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Saudi Arabia Upgrades Vocational Training System

9|19|14   |   3:31   |   (0) comments


The Technical and Vocational Training Corporation (TVTC) has 100,000 students, 150 government-owned institutions and oversees 1000 private institutes. The CIO of TVTC explains that Huawei devices have allowed them to manage multiple datacenters using just one software program, scientifically tracking the progress of students and teachers, saving them millions.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei's Media Solutions Are Here to Stay

9|19|14   |   4:35   |   (0) comments


The current media revolution requires rapid upgrades in technology. New formats (HD, 3D, 4K etc.) and the subsequent explosion of file sizes demand sophisticated network and storage architecture. Social media and the multiple distribution channels require a robust asset management system. Gartner analyst Venecia Liu speaks about the current technological trends in ...
Upcoming Live Events
October 29, 2014, New York City
November 6, 2014, Santa Clara
November 11, 2014, Atlanta, GA
December 2, 2014, New York City
December 3, 2014, New York City
December 9-10, 2014, Reykjavik, Iceland
June 9-10, 2015, Chicago, IL
Infographics
Half of the world's population will be connected to the Internet by 2017, but not just by smartphones and desktops.
Hot Topics
Facebook Pokes Around LTE Direct
Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, 9/25/2014
Sprint Wields Its Influence in the Valley
Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, 9/25/2014
US Ignite Cultivates Gigabit Apps
Jason Meyers, Senior Editor, Utility Communications/IoT, 9/25/2014
Is Redbox Instant Shutting Down?
Mari Silbey, Independent Technology Editor, 9/30/2014
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed