& 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.
Light Reading’s Upskill U is a FREE, interactive, online educational resource that delivers must-have education on themes that relate to the overall business transformation taking place in the communications industry.
NEXT COURSE
Wednesday, September 14, 1:00PM EDT
What Is Agile?
Kent J. McDonald, Product Owner, Agile Alliance
UPCOMING COURSE SCHEDULE
Friday, September 16, 1:00PM EDT
How to Implement Agile
Alan Bateman, Director, Agile Transformation
Wednesday, September 21, 1:00PM EDT
What Is DevOps?
Colin Kincaid, CTO, Service Provider, Cisco
Friday, September 23, 1:00PM EDT
How to Implement DevOps
,
in association with:
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.
Between the CEOs
CEO Chat: UXP Systems' Gemini Waghmare

8|26|16   |     |   (0) comments


Light Reading CEO Steve Saunders and UXP Systems CEO Gemini Waghmare discuss the strategic importance of digital identity for operators in the midst of transformation.
LRTV Custom TV
F5 Virtual Network Function Integrations With Partner Orchestration Platform

8|24|16   |   6:38   |   (0) comments


F5's Kishore Patnam, product manager for F5's service provider solutions, discusses why service providers are moving towards virtualization and how his clients are utilizing F5's solutions.
Between the CEOs
CEO Chat: Intel's Alexis Black Bjorlin

8|17|16   |   06:23   |   (0) comments


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.
Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
Accelerating Telecom Digital Transformation With Nominum DNS

8|1|16   |   12:04   |   (0) comments


Light Reading's Steve Saunders gets an update from Nominum CEO Gary Messiana on how his company is helping carriers on the digital transformation journey.
LRTV Custom TV
Reinventing Operations for a Virtual, Software-Defined World

7|28|16   |   5:23   |   (0) comments


Heavy Reading Senior Analyst Jim Hodges speaks with Accenture's Larry Socher and Matt Anderson about what service providers must do to transform their business to get the benefits of SDN and NFV including: leveraging DevOps, introducing real-time OSS and implementing analytics.
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
Fujitsu Sales Leader Shares Lessons Learned

7|27|16   |   5:12   |   (1) comment


As Fujitsu's only female sales leader, Annie Bogue knows the importance of asking for what you want, being flexible (she's been relocated five times), keeping a meticulous calendar, 'leaning in,' working harder than everyone else around you, being aware and more.
Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
VeEX Test & Measurement Solutions

7|25|16   |   08:57   |   (0) comments


Cyrille Morelle, president and CEO of VeEX Inc., talks test and measurement with Light Reading's Steve Saunders at BCE 2016. This includes innovative products such as VeSion Cloud-Based platform for network monitoring; MTTplus Modular Test platform for Access, Business, Carrier Ethernet, Transport and Core services; and OPX-BOX+ for Fiber Optics.
LRTV Custom TV
VeEX: Live From BCE 2016

7|25|16   |   03:20   |   (0) comments


VeEX's Senior Director of Business Development, Perry Romano, explains how VeEX provides tools to help install, maintain, monitor and manage network infrastructure efficiently and effectively. The portfolio of products on display include the RXT-6000, MTTplus and TX300s.
LRTV Custom TV
Real-Time Telemetry & Analytics for Intelligent SDN Orchestration

7|25|16   |   03:09   |   (0) comments


Packet Design CEO Scott Sherwood discusses how real-time network telemetry and analytics are enabling a new breed of SDN orchestration applications.
From the Founder
The Russo Report: Driving Disruption

7|25|16   |   07:44   |   (2) comments


In the first episode of a four-part series, Light Reading Founder and CEO Steve Saunders and Calix President and CEO Carl Russo drive around town discussing the disruptive mega-changes in the communications industry and where hope lies for service providers to meet the escalating demands of the cloud.
LRTV Custom TV
NetScout: Maximizing Enterprise Cloud for Digital Transformation

7|20|16   |   04:53   |   (0) comments


Light Reading Editor Mitch Wagner talks to NetScout CMO Jim McNiel about maximizing the benefits of enterprise cloud and digital transformation while minimizing potential pitfalls with a proper monitoring and instrumentation strategy.
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
Ciena's VP Offers a Career Crash Course

7|20|16   |   4:14   |   (2) comments


How did Ciena's Vice President of Sales, Angela Finn, carve out her career path? Simple, she tells WiC. She stayed true to her company, customers and principles. She shares her advice for women on how to be authentic and credible, as well as for companies that want to make a real change to their culture and practices.
Upcoming Live Events
September 13-14, 2016, The Curtis Hotel, Denver, CO
November 3, 2016, The Montcalm Marble Arch, London
November 30, 2016, The Westin Times Square, New York City
December 1, 2016, The Westin Times Square, New York, NY
December 6-8, 2016, The Westin Excelsior, Rome
May 16-17, 2017, Austin Convention Center, Austin, TX
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
Hot Topics
Cisco Developing 'Monica' Digital Assistant
Mitch Wagner, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading, 8/22/2016
FirstNet: A Billion-Dollar Boondoggle?
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 8/26/2016
WiCipedia: Should Men Be Included? & Olympians Face Discrimination
Eryn Leavens, Special Features & Copy Editor, 8/26/2016
Google Fiber Can't Be Called a Failure
Carol Wilson, Editor-at-large, 8/26/2016
Google Fiber Downsizing Not Confirmed
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 8/25/2016
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
Light Reading CEO Steve Saunders and UXP Systems CEO Gemini Waghmare discuss the strategic importance of digital identity for operators in the midst of transformation.
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
Live Digital Audio

Bridging the tech skills gap is a major challenge for service providers and suppliers alike today – and the challenge is two-fold when it comes to increasing the number of women in the comms space. Level 3 Communications has made it a priority to overcome both challenges by implementing several unique programs focused on building the right candidates from within – in addition to filling the funnel by supporting STEM and other education programs. During this radio show, you’ll learn about these programs from Mary Beth McGrath, SVP of Global Talent Management at Level 3, and the best ways to bridge your own skills gap so that you are motivated and equipped for change. Plus you’ll have the chance to ask Mary Beth your questions live on the air.