& cplSiteName &

SDN Faces a Human Hurdle

Mitch Wagner
4/3/2014
50%
50%

LAS VEGAS -- Interop -- People are the main impediment to the introduction of SDN, which requires new skills for network managers and a change in corporate culture, according to speakers on a panel here.

In a world of software-defined networking, network managers need to become software developers, Steve Shah, senior director of product management for Citrix Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CTXS), said during the panel session Wednesday. "You need the network to be programmed, not provisioned."

But Dominic Wilde, VP global product line management for HP Inc. (NYSE: HPQ), disagreed. "This is the fallacy we need to move away from," he said. Businesses should use turnkey solutions to implement SDN -- which, of course, HP and its partners offer.

Another important people-skill for implementing SDN is learning to talk to C-level executives, Wilde said.

"The C-level view of the world is, 'What do I get? I get connectivity? What's the real value that I'm getting from the network and why isn't it getting cheaper?' So you have to change the context of that conversation and be able to say, 'Hey, if I invest in these new technologies that enable my network to be dynamic and responsive versus static and complex, I now have the ability to create new lines of revenue,'" Wilde said.

Another problem: Companies are overwhelmed by difficulties in how to apply SDN principles to their own networks, and require consulting help in making the changes, Wilde said. (By extraordinary coincidence, HP offers just those services, part of several new products and services introduced this week -- see HP Beefs Up Its SDN Portfolio and HP: Here's How We Can Cut WiFi Costs.)

Other SDN stumbling blocks are technical, including too many APIs and protocols, panelists said. (See Goin' South: Cisco Offers 'OpFlex' as Alternative to OpenFlow .)

Despite obstacles, SDN is nearing mainstream, the speakers noted.

"If a grandma can program your DVR, then technology has made it to the masses. That's the state of SDN -- almost, but not quite," said Arpit Joshipura, VP product management and strategy at Dell Networking. Real businesses are deploying SDN at last, leading to cost savings and other business benefits.

Products are here for all layers of the network, Shah said. But automation is still immature

SDN has moved beyond pieces and products, such as controllers and protocols, to full solutions, Wilde said. It's also moved beyond the data center. "The industry got obsessed with SDN being just about virtualization in the data center." Bigger benefits can potentially come from new security models, QoS, and deployment models.

Automating the network and abstracting complexity are major potential benefits, Wilde said. Those are the things that make SDN different from previous technology such as VLANs. Using SDN, businesses can make changes to the network without reconfiguring the underlying topology of the network.

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


SDN and its role in bridging technology and business will be a major theme of 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.


(6)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
Mitch Wagner
50%
50%
Mitch Wagner,
User Rank: Lightning
4/8/2014 | 6:37:05 PM
Re: People problems
Steve Shah - When you explain it, that makes sense. Get women more interested in IT and you've increased the potential pool of network managers by double-digits percentage. Not 50 percent because many women are already in IT, but a significant boost. My wild guess is probably 25-40 percent. 

And thanks for joining the discussion! Here, have a tasty snack. 
steveshahcitrix
100%
0%
steveshahcitrix,
User Rank: Light Beer
4/7/2014 | 7:27:27 PM
Re: People problems
Hi FakeMitchWatner - Steve Shah here... the panelist in question.


The context of the conversation was around where we're going to hit problems in adoption of SDN and automation was highlighted as an area. In automation, I specifically called out that we're struggling with getting enough developers to the table for IT and I highlighted three pools of talent that we're specifically going to need to address: the current generation of IT professionals who have likely have gone years (if not decades) since their last programming course, educating new talent which means revising our view of what an IT education looks like, and finally, not forgetting the broader problem with women in IT.

You're right, women in IT are not directly connected to SDN.

However, when we talk about our talent pool we need to bear in mind the challenge of getting enough engineers to satisfy our rapidly growing demand. If we continue on our current trendline, we're not going to cut it. Thus, we can't have a conversation about where we are going to get talent from and miss that important demographic.


Hope that clears it up.

-Steve

ps. I disagree about soylent green having people problems... IIRC, it fixed people problems. We just didn't like the solution.
Mitch Wagner
50%
50%
Mitch Wagner,
User Rank: Lightning
4/7/2014 | 3:03:07 PM
Re: Women
t.bogataj - Citrix's Steve Shah made the comment about the shortage of women in IT being an obstacle to SDN adoption. Like I said, I don't see the connection. Women are underrepresented in all aspects of IT. Why is SDN different?
t.bogataj
50%
50%
t.bogataj,
User Rank: Light Sabre
4/5/2014 | 11:26:09 AM
Re: Women
Mitch, the observation is really interesting. Maybe it is worth seeing if we need to understand better. Sorry to bother you, but can you look the panelist up in your little black book? Thanks.

T.
Mitch Wagner
50%
50%
Mitch Wagner,
User Rank: Lightning
4/4/2014 | 7:48:09 PM
Women
One of the panelists said one of the people-problems SDN has is that there are too few women in IT.

I said to myself, wait, what? What does one have to do with the other? How is the disproportionate involvement of men in IT a special problem for SDN? It's no different for SDN than any other part of IT. Unless the speaker was arguing women have some special skills at SDN -- like they have at giving birth and breastfeeding -- I don't see the connection. 

I'm not identifying the speaker here out of sheer laziness; I don't have my notes in front of me. If anybody's particularly interested I can look it up. 
Mitch Wagner
50%
50%
Mitch Wagner,
User Rank: Lightning
4/3/2014 | 2:16:30 PM
People problems
So SDN has people problems. You know what else has people problems? Soylent Green.
From The Founder
Cisco's Conrad Clemson, recently promoted to head up the company's Service Provider Apps & Platforms developments, talks to Light Reading's Founder and CEO Steve Saunders about how he's bringing cloud video, mobile and virtualization together to empower network operators.
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
Heavy Reading: The Web-Scale View

1|18|17   |     |   (0) comments


At Light Reading's 2020 Vision Executive Summit in Rome, Heavy Reading's former chief analyst Patrick Donegan shared insight from the recent web-scale operators report, which featured research on how web-scale operators view the market, the best web-scale companies to ...
LRTV Custom TV
Cisco's Cloud Scale Networking: Automation, Virtualization & Simplification

1|18|17   |     |   (0) comments


Cisco's Sanjeev Mervana outlines the latest innovations in networking technology at CES 2017 in Las Vegas.
LRTV Custom TV
ADVA Talks Innovation & the Future of Networking

1|17|17   |     |   (0) comments


Ray Le Maistre and Christoph Glingener, CTO of ADVA Optical Networking, discuss the current state of the industry, cooperation and collaboration, open innovation and the future of networking.
LRTV Custom TV
Cisco's Infinite Video Platform

1|17|17   |     |   (0) comments


Cisco's Infinite Video Platform allows service providers to deliver broadcast-quality video over IP networks. Infinite video supports many devices, from 4K TVs to tablets to game consoles. Join Cisco's Rajeev Raman for a brief tour and live demo.
LRTV Interviews
Masergy: Ability to Adapt Key for NFV

1|16|17   |   6:40   |   (0) comments


Speaking at Light Reading's 2020 Vision in Rome, Masergy's VP, Global Technology, Ray Watson, said agility is key to providing the mix and match NFV-based services that are driving business for the managed service provider today.
LRTV Interviews
Equinix: The Data Explosion

1|13|17   |   4:16   |   (0) comments


At Light Reading's 2020 Vision in Rome, Eric Schwartz, president of EMEA, Equinix, talked about how Equinix is helping its customers manage the influx of data today, and how it's preparing for a future filled with millions of connected IoT devices.
LRTV Interviews
Heavy Reading: The Changing Data Center Landscape

1|12|17   |   6:05   |   (1) comment


At Light Reading's 2020 Vision event in Rome, Heavy Reading's Senior Analyst Roz Roseboro talks about how virtualization is impacting data center evolution and how that evolution is affecting the relationship between service providers, data center operators and public cloud providers.
LRTV Interviews
Boingo: Prepping for Millions of Devices

1|12|17   |   5:07   |   (1) comment


At Light Reading's 2020 Vision in Rome, Boingo's CTO Derek Peterson discusses how wireless operators will address the needs of low-bandwidth and high-bandwidth apps at the same time, the need for more MHz, the impact of IoT and more.
LRTV Interviews
Comcast Shows Off Gig Gateway at CES

1|11|17   |     |   (1) comment


With its largest presence at CES in years, Comcast took the wraps off its long-awaited gigabit gateway and a new platform for managing the home WiFi network. Light Reading Senior Editor Mari Silbey sat down with EVP Chris Satchell to discuss the latest Comcast advance, and met with VP of Product Strategy and Development Andrea Peiro to walk through a demo of the ...
LRTV Interviews
Colt: End-to-End Key for 2017

1|10|17   |   6:21   |   (0) comments


At Light Reading's 2020 Vision Executive Summit in Rome, Nico Fischbach of Colt said having a multi-carrier, end-to-end service proposition is going to be key for 2017 -- and SD-WAN is instrumental in making it happen.
From the Founder
Cisco's Clemson on Mobile Cloud Video

1|9|17   |     |   (1) comment


Cisco's Conrad Clemson, recently promoted to head up the company's Service Provider Apps & Platforms developments, talks to Light Reading's Founder and CEO Steve Saunders about how he's bringing cloud video, mobile and virtualization together to empower network operators. "If you think about where we're going… whether it's a mobile application, or a video ...
LRTV Custom TV
VMware Telco NFV Solutions – Preparing for 5G & IOT

1|9|17   |     |   (0) comments


Shekar Ayyar, EVP & Corporate Strategy/General Manager of Telco for VMware, discusses VMware's Telco NFV solutions role and foundation for the Imminent Arrival of 5G & IOT.
Upcoming Live Events
March 21-22, 2017, The Curtis Hotel, Denver, CO
May 15-17, 2017, Austin Convention Center, Austin, TX
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
Hot Topics
A Women in Comms Glossary
Sarah Thomas, Director, Women in Comms, 1/18/2017
Is Cable One Beefing Up for Slaughter?
Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, Light Reading, 1/20/2017
Nokia CTO: 2017 Is the Year 5G Gets in the Field
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 1/19/2017
TV's Paradox: No HDR Without 4K
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 1/17/2017
Cable Has One Thing Verizon Needs
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 1/17/2017
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
Light Reading founder and CEO Steve Saunders chats with Sportlogiq CEO Craig Buntin about sports data analysis.
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.
Animals with Phones
Live Digital Audio

Playing it safe can only get you so far. Sometimes the biggest bets have the biggest payouts, and that is true in your career as well. For this radio show, Caroline Chan, general manager of the 5G Infrastructure Division of the Network Platform Group at Intel, will share her own personal story of how she successfully took big bets to build a successful career, as well as offer advice on how you can do the same. We’ll cover everything from how to overcome fear and manage risk, how to be prepared for where technology is going in the future and how to structure your career in a way to ensure you keep progressing. Chan, a seasoned telecom veteran and effective risk taker herself, will also leave plenty of time to answer all your questions live on the air.