& 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, July 27, 1:00PM EDT
The Changing Face of the Data Center World
Rodney M. Elder, Senior Solutions Architect, Equinix
UPCOMING COURSE SCHEDULE
Wednesday, August 3, 1:00PM EDT
The Central Office Re-Architected as a Data Center
Guru Parulkar, Executive Director, Open Networking Research Center, Open Networking Lab
Wednesday, August 10, 1:00PM EDT
Telcos & Open Source 101
Phil Robb, Senior Technical Director, OpenDaylight
Friday, August 12, 1:00PM EDT
The Role of Open Source in NFV
Jim Fagan, Director, Cloud Practice, Telstra
in association with:
From The Founder
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.
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 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   |   (0) 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   |   (0) 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.
LRTV Custom TV
NFV in 2016: Part 2 – Climbing the Virtualization Maturity Curve

7|19|16   |   06:56   |   (0) comments


Many of the initial use case implementations are single-vendor and self-contained. The industry is still climbing the virtualization maturity curve, needing further clarity and stability in the NFV infrastructure (NFVi) and greater availability and choice of virtualized network functions (VNFs). Interoperability between NFVis and VNFs from different vendors ...
Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
Versa Networks' Kumar Mehta on SD-WAN Managed Services

7|19|16   |     |   (0) comments


In Silicon Valley, Steve Saunders sits down with Versa's Kumar Mehta for an interview focused on why service providers are building SD-WAN managed services, and how Versa's telco customers are innovating.
LRTV Custom TV
Juniper Networks & The Evolution of NFV

7|19|16   |   06:01   |   (0) comments


Senior Juniper Networks executives talk to Light Reading Founder & CEO Steve Saunders about NFV developments and the recent independent evaluation by test lab EANTC of Juniper's Cloud CPE solution.
LRTV Interviews
CenturyLink Goes Beyond Managed WiFi

7|19|16   |     |   (0) comments


CenturyLink's managed WiFi allows enterprises, such as retailers and resorts, to track guest WiFi usage in order to help them better communicate with customers.
LRTV Interviews
AT&T Launches Network Functions on Demand

7|17|16   |   05:26   |   (0) comments


Roman Pacewicz, Senior Vice President, Offer Management & Service Integration, AT&T Business Solutions, discusses the operator's launch of its Network Functions on Demand service.
LRTV Interviews
Enterprise Pitch for Ciscosson

7|14|16   |   04:43   |   (0) comments


After seven months of near silence, Cisco and Ericsson executives publicly discussed details on their extensive partnership. Among the tidbits shared by Martin Zander, VP, group strategy programs, Ericsson, and Doug Webster, VP service provider marketing, Cisco: The partnership was initially launched to serve the service provider market, but is already gaining ...
Wagner’s Ring
Cisco Faces Up to Hypercloud Threat

7|13|16   |   02:42   |   (0) comments


Facebook, Amazon and Google mostly don't buy branded technology for their networks – they build their own. That's a threat to Cisco – and its competitors too – which face potentially dwindling demand for their product. Is Cisco up to the challenge? Light Reading went to the annual Cisco Live conference to find out.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Building a Better Connected Russia

7|13|16   |     |   (0) comments


At UBBS World Tour 2016, Alla Shabelnikova of Ovum shares the findings of a white paper outlining the challenges and opportunities of broadband rollout in Russia.
Upcoming Live Events
September 13-14, 2016, The Curtis Hotel, Denver, CO
September 27, 2016, Philadelphia, PA
November 3, 2016, The Montcalm Marble Arch, London
November 30, 2016, The Westin Times Square, New York City
December 6-8, 2016,
May 16-17, 2017, Austin Convention Center, Austin, TX
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
Five of the Top 10 most targeted countries in Check Point Software Technologies' global Malware & Threat Index for Q1 2016 are in Africa.
Hot Topics
Ericsson 'Doubles' Savings Goal as Sales Slump
Iain Morris, News Editor, 7/19/2016
Kevin Lo's Move to Facebook: Sign of Things to Come?
Patrick Donegan, Chief Analyst, Heavy Reading, 7/20/2016
Verizon's Next With VNFs
Carol Wilson, Editor-at-large, 7/21/2016
Facebook Gets Its Drone On
Ray Le Maistre, Editor-in-chief, 7/22/2016
Ericsson Ejects CEO Vestberg
Ray Le Maistre, Editor-in-chief, 7/25/2016
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
There's no question that, come 2020, 5G technology will turn the world's conception of what mobile networking is on its head. Within the world of 5G development, Dr. ...
I've enjoyed interviewing many interesting people since I rejoined Light Reading, but William A. "Bill" Owens certainly takes the biscuit, as we say where I come from.
Live Digital Audio

Our world has evolved through innovation from the Industrial Revolution of the 1740s to the information age, and it is now entering the Fourth Industrial Revolution, driven by technology. Technology is driving a paradigm shift in the way digital solutions deliver a connected world, changing the way we live, communicate and provide solutions. It can have a powerful impact on how we tackle some of the world’s most pressing problems. In this radio show, Caroline Dowling, President of Communications Infrastructure & Enterprise Computing at Flex, will join Women in Comms Director Sarah Thomas to discuss the impact technology has on society and how it can be a game-changer across the globe; improving lives and creating a smarter world. Dowling, a Cork, Ireland, native and graduate of Harvard Business School's Advanced Management Program, will also discuss her experience managing an international team focused on innovation in an age of high-speed change.