Light Reading

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%
Repost This

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 success of NFV and SDN will depend on service assurance, big data, end-to-end orchestration, and a centralized catalog.
The move to 100G in long-haul networks is driving the integration of DWDM transport and OTN switching, finds Heavy Reading.
Service providers are being challenged to enable a digital lifestyle for their corporate clients as well as residential customers.
Big data analytics is creating a multi-billion-dollar revenue opportunity for service providers.
The Evolved Packet Core (EPC) has emerged as one of the leading candidates for network functions virtualization (NFV).
Flash Poll
LRTV Custom TV
Wind River Demonstrates Carrier-Grade Software for NFV

4|22|14   |   5:00   |   (0) comments


Wind River VP of Product Management, Glenn Seiler, takes a look the industry's first and only complete NFV software platform designed specifically for the unique carrier-grade and high-performance needs of telecom networks.
LRTV Documentaries
Cable Eyes Big Technology Shifts

4|16|14   |   03:02   |   (4) comments


US cable engineers are facing a lot of heavy lifting in the coming years, notes Light Reading Cable/Video Practice Leader Alan Breznick.
LRTV Custom TV
Maximizing Customer Experience & Assuring Service Delivery in an IP World

4|15|14   |   4:57   |   (0) comments


Steven Shalita, VP of Marketing, NetScout Systems, Inc., discusses the challenges cable/MSO operators face in assuring the delivery of new IP-based services. Key points include the value of proactively managing performance, and using rich analytics and operational intelligence to better understand service and usage trends, make smarter business decisions and ...
LRTV Documentaries
Bye-Bye DVD: Consumers Embrace Digital Video

4|10|14   |   04:17   |   (7) comments


Veteran video analyst Colin Dixon, founder and principal analyst of nScreenMedia, says research shows 56% are using digital video already.
LRTV Documentaries
Video: TW Cable Puts Multicast Gateways to the Test

4|8|14   |   04:13   |   (1) comment


Tom Gonder, a chief architect at Time Warner Cable, explains how its trial of multicast gateways is impacting IP-based video plans.
LRTV Custom TV
Managing & Monetizing Big Data in Operator Environments

4|7|14   |     |   (1) comment


At Mobile World Congress, Gigamon's Director of Service Provider Solutions, Andy Huckridge, and Heavy Reading Analyst Sarah Wallace discuss the 'big data' issues facing carriers and operators today.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Data Center Energy – Build Your Data Center in a Modular Way

4|7|14   |   2:13   |   (0) comments


Dr. Fang Liangzhou, VP Network Energy Product Line, shared his thoughts about the challenges for data centers during CeBIT 2014.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Agile Network Solution – An Overview of Huawei's Agile Network Solution

4|7|14   |   2:31   |   (0) comments


Ajay Gupta, Director of Product Marketing, Networking Product Line, gives an overview of the Agile Network Solutions during CeBIT 2014.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei’s eLTE Voice Trunking, Video and Data Applied for Railways

4|7|14   |   1:38   |   (0) comments


Gottfried Winter is the Sales Director at Funkwerk, a German specialist in GSM-r terminals and a long-time partner of Huawei. At CeBIT 2014, Winter talks to Light Reading about this partnership and the integration of enhanced voice trunking, video and data functions.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
LeaseWeb Speaks Highly of Huawei's Datacenter Products

4|7|14   |   1:37   |   (0) comments


Rene Olde Olthof, Operations Director LeaseWeb, talks about the next data center transformation during CeBIT 2014.
LRTV Documentaries
Comcast: Reshaping the Cable Network Architecture

4|3|14   |   07:11   |   (8) comments


Shamim Akhtar, Comcast's architect and senior director of network strategy, explains why the cable company is moving to a more distributed network architecture.
LRTV Custom TV
VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger at Mobile World Congress

4|1|14   |   3:41   |   (0) comments


VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger speaks to Heavy Reading about the value of virtualization spanning from the data center to service provider networks to mobile devices.
Hot Topics
WhatsApp Threatens Carrier VoLTE
Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, 4/18/2014
The Hungry, Hungry Cloud
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 4/22/2014
Who's Ready to Play Broadband?
Carol Wilson, Editor-at-large, 4/21/2014
Volvo: AT&T HSPA+ Can Drive My Car
Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, 4/16/2014
Report: NFV/SDN Standards 'Myopic' on Service Management
Carol Wilson, Editor-at-large, 4/16/2014
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed