Light Reading
6:00 AM Well, it seems to be going everywhere, but here are some guesses as to what might come of that

Where SDN Is Going Next

Craig Matsumoto
Valley Wonk
Craig Matsumoto
12/21/2012
50%
50%

6:00 AM -- Software-defined networking (SDN) rapidly expanded to take up nearly all of tech-industry journalism this year, at least in the networking sphere. Rather than make a year-end list out of it, I thought I'd share a few of the trends I'll be watching for.

For a more granular look at the subject, check out the SDN questions recently posed by Heavy Reading analyst Graham Finnie. I'll be watching the technology at the nuts-and-bolts level as well, but I kept this list rather high-level, looking mostly at business implications.

Where did I miss the mark? Talk it out on the message boards below. SDN is still morphing, so there's plenty to debate.

More startups get acquired
Might as well get this out of the way first, because it's so obvious. VMware Inc.'s $1.2 billion acquisition of Nicira was atypical in terms of the money involved, but there's no denying that an SDN feeding frenzy is underway. Brocade Communications Systems Inc., Cisco Systems Inc. and Juniper Networks Inc. have since made acquisitions. More are likely to come, maybe from the names listed below.



Big players move closer together
VMware is becoming more like Cisco, and Cisco more like VMware parent EMC Corp. (note Cisco's apparent funding of storage startup WhipTail, as reported by TechCrunch). Oracle Corp. owns another hardware company in Xsigo Systems Inc., its not-really-SDN acquisition.

These giants are becoming more similar with every acquisition. It's no stretch to say VMware has become a networking company, and of course Cisco has trodden server vendors' turf with its Unified Computing System (UCS). In the coming year, the points of conflict among these companies will only grow.

It's not directly an "SDN" issue; in fact, you could say it has more to do with the cloud. In any event, it's not going to stop.



Carriers use cases emerge
Carriers really are using SDN. We've heard Verizon talk about OpenFlow, and some of Cyan's rural customers are experimenting with SDN-like monitoring on the fiber network. Lots of ad-hoc uses are emerging, too; we'll be running an interview after the holidays where David Meyer of Brocade briefly discusses that.

They're just dabbling, in many cases, but it's work that could help solidify the shape of carrier SDN. It will be worth watching.

Standards will overrun us all
Certainly, SDN will need more than just OpenFlow and the Open Networking Foundation. But now there's also network functions virtualization (NFV) being pitched by carriers, and various SDN work brewing at the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc. (IEEE), Alliance for Telecommunications Industry Solutions (ATIS) and International Telecommunication Union (ITU).

I don't have much of a point here, other than to complain about the difficulty of following all this.

Commoditization won't go away
The argument is that SDN can replace switches, and possibly routers, with generic and inexpensive boxes controlled externally. The counter-argument is that SDN will instead add a richness and a programmable intelligence to switches and routers, something the vendors will be able to exploit.

SDN won't drive Cisco and its rivals out of business in 2013. But the carriers have heard the commodity argument, and they're intrigued. Any sign that it's becoming a practical reality would be bad news for vendors, especially Cisco.

Don't expect the revolution right away. But watch for those signs.

— Craig Matsumoto, Managing Editor, Light Reading

(0)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
More Blogs from Valley Wonk
Comcast joins Google in asking for a flexible-rate optical standard, rather than 400G or terabit, but that's easier said than done
Cisco, Juniper and other more traditional Interop speakers might get overshadowed by the forces of virtualization
The Open Networking Summit has climbed the hype curve, but the conference should cling to its roots as a techie discussion forum for software-defined networking
The coalition's chairman says all these companies plan to further the SDN cause and don't have a 'nefarious' angle
Big vendors are reportedly banding together to unify SDN's approach but is it more about steering the conversation?
Flash Poll
From The Founder
It's clear to me that the communications industry is divided into two types of people, and only one is living in the real world.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Dr. Dong Sun Talks About Carriers' Digital Transformation & Huawei’s Telco OS

1|29|15   |   6:28   |   (0) comments


Dr. Dong Sun, Chief Architect of Digital Transformation Solutions at Huawei, discusses how telecom operators can become digital ecosystem enablers and deliver optimal user experiences that are in real-time, on-demand, all-online, DIY and social (ROADS).
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei's Chief Network Architect Talks about Network Experience & Operators’ Strategies

1|29|15   |   3:39   |   (0) comments


In the digital age, network experience has become the primary productivity especially for telecom operators. In this video, Wenshuan Dang, Huawei’s Chief Network Architect, discusses how carriers can tackle the challenge of infrastructure complexity in order to enhance business agility and improve user experience.
LRTV Documentaries
The Rise of Virtual CPE

1|27|15   |   01:38   |   (5) comments


As NFV strategies evolve from tests and trials to production telco networks, expect to hear a lot about virtual CPE (customer premises equipment) rollouts during 2015.
LRTV Documentaries
Optical Is Hot in 2015

1|23|15   |   01:56   |   (2) comments


Optical comms technology underpins the whole communications sector and there are some really hot trends set for 2015.
LRTV Custom TV
Policy Control in the Fast Lane

1|22|15   |   2:57   |   (0) comments


What's making policy control strategic in 2015 and beyond? Amdocs talks with Heavy Reading's Graham Finnie about the key factors driving change in the data services landscape. Find out what his policy management research reveals about the road ahead for policy control – and sign up for
LRTV Documentaries
Highlights From the 2020 Vision Executive Summit

1|21|15   |   4:33   |   (2) comments


In December 2014, Light Reading brought together telecom executives in Reykjavik, Iceland to discuss their vision for high-capacity networks through the end of the decade. The intimate, interactive meeting was set against the backdrop of Iceland's spectacular natural beauty. As one of the event's founding sponsors, Cisco's Doug Webster shared his company's ...
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei Pay-TV Partner Harmonic, Helping Carriers Accelerate 4K Video Deployment with Huawei

1|20|15   |   5:42   |   (1) comment


At IBC, Peter Alexander, Senior Vice President & CMO at Harmonic, speaks about the growing interest in pay-TV service and its branching into multiple devices.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Sony Marketing Director Olivier Bovis Discusses the Outlook for 4K and Cooperation With Huawei at IBC 2014

1|20|15   |   6:50   |   (0) comments


At IBC, Olivier Bovis, Marketing Director of Sony, speaks about the coming of the 4K era.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei Pay-TV Partner Envivio, Helping Carriers Accelerate 4K Video Deployment

1|20|15   |   2:57   |   (0) comments


At IBC, Olivier Bovis, Marketing Director of Sony, speaks about the coming of the 4K era.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Pay-TV's Networked Future

1|20|15   |   6:29   |   (0) comments


At IBC, Jeff Heynen, Principal Analyst at Infonetics, speaks about the future of the pay-TV industry and its transition.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Jeff Heynen: Distributed Access Will Help MSOs Compete in the Future

1|20|15   |   2:26   |   (0) comments


At IBC, Jeff Heynen, Principal Analyst at Infonetics, speaks about moving to distributed access and the future trend of cable business.
LRTV Interviews
Cisco Talks Transformation

1|20|15   |   13:02   |   (0) comments


In December 2014, Steve Saunders sat down with Cisco VP of Products & Solutions Marketing Doug Webster at Light Reading's 2020 Vision executive summit in Reykjavik, Iceland. They spoke about Cisco's approach to network virtualization as well as how service providers can begin to monetize high-capacity networks through the end of the decade.
Upcoming Live Events
February 5, 2015, Washington, DC
February 19, 2015, The Fairmont San Jose, San Jose, CA
March 17, 2015, The Cable Center, Denver, CO
April 14, 2015, The Westin Times Square, New York City, NY
May 12, 2015, Grand Hyatt, Denver, CO
May 13-14, 2015, The Westin Peachtree, Atlanta, GA
June 8, 2015, Chicago, IL
June 9-10, 2015, Chicago, IL
June 9, 2015, Chicago, IL
September 9-10, 2015, The Westin Galleria Dallas, Dallas, TX
September 29-30, 2015, The Westin Grand Müchen, Munich, Germany
November 11-12, 2015, The Westin Peachtree Plaza, Atlanta, GA
December 1, 2015, The Westin Times Square, New York City
December 2-3, 2015, The Westin Times Square, New York City
Infographics
Hot Topics
Google Continues Gigabit Expansion
Jason Meyers, Senior Editor, Gigabit Cities/IoT, 1/27/2015
Comcast Apologizes to 'A**hole' Brown
Mitch Wagner, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading, 1/29/2015
US Ops Spend $32.5M to Bring 4G to Chicago's Subways
Sarah Thomas, Editorial Operations Director, 1/30/2015
Cablevision's New WiFi Try – Freewheeling Enough?
Mari Silbey, Independent Technology Editor, 1/26/2015
Overture Builds on NFV Foundation
Mitch Wagner, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading, 1/27/2015
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
Webinar Archive
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Weekly Executive Interview
Join us live for Light Reading's interview with Jay Samit, the newly appointed CEO of publicly traded SeaChange International Inc. With a resume that includes Sony, EMI, and Universal, Samit brings a reputation as an entrepreneur and a disruptor to his new role at the video solutions company. Hear what he has to say about the opportunities in video, as well as the outlook for cable, telco, OTT and mobile service providers.