Light Reading

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        ADD A COMMENT
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
The Swedish vendor has undergone a significant transformation during the past few years, adjusting to the demands of next-generation communications companies.
LRTV Documentaries
LTE Paves the Way for the 5G Revolution

4|20|15   |   4:20   |   (0) comments


Håkan Andersson, head of 5G product strategy of the Radio Business Unit at Ericsson, discusses the role of LTE, the US and other industry verticals in building a true 5G ecosystem.
LRTV Documentaries
The 3GPP's Road to 5G Standardization

4|17|15   |   4:43   |   (0) comments


Satoshi Nagata, chairman of the 3GPP's TSG-RAN group and a manager at NTT Docomo, explains the standardization process for 5G, as well as the biggest challenges and opportunities.
LRTV Documentaries
AlcaLu CTO Makes the Case for a New 5G Air Interface

4|16|15   |   3:54   |   (0) comments


Michael Peeters, CTO of wireless at Alcatel-Lucent, explains why 5G will require a new air interface to meet its diverse performance targets.
LRTV Documentaries
AlcaLu + Nokia: The New Uber-Vendor

4|15|15   |   2:42   |   (4) comments


Heavy Reading Senior Analyst Gabriel Brown discusses the technological and competitive opportunities and challenges if a merger between Alcatel-Lucent and Nokia comes to pass.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei's Data Center Power Play

4|15|15   |   6:22   |   (0) comments


Huawei has developed industry-leading energy efficiency capabilities for its indoor and outdoor data center solutions, explains Dr. Fang Liangzhou, vice president of Huawei's Network Energy product Line.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei’s Routers, Switches Get the Green Mark

4|15|15   |   2:02   |   (0) comments


TUV Rheinland's Frank Dudley explains how Huawei's routers and switches have been successfully tested by energy efficiency experts and have gained Green Mark Certification.
LRTV Documentaries
A Finn, a Frenchman & a Guy From New Jersey Walk Into a Merger...

4|15|15   |   3:17   |   (0) comments


Stop us if you've heard this one before... Light Reading CEO Founder & CEO Steve Saunders weighs in on the technical and cultural implications of a Nokia and Alcatel-Lucent merger.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Accounting for Better Solutions

4|10|15   |   02:31   |   (1) comment


Murad Yousuf, CTO at Saudi Arabia's Ministry of Finance (Dept. of Zakat & Income Tax), talks about the benefits of deploying router technology from Huawei.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
What's in Store for Huawei & DataCore?

4|10|15   |   05:44   |   (0) comments


At the CeBIT trade show in Hannover, Germany, George Teixeira, CEO of software-defined storage (SDS) specialist DataCore Software, explains why he has just signed a partnership agreement with Huawei Technologies.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Du Puts Its Faith in Huawei's Routers

4|9|15   |   3:42   |   (0) comments


Adnan Masood, director of Enterprise MS Solutions Marketing at du, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) operator also known as Emirates Integrated Telecommunications Company, explains why his company chose to use Huawei's multifunctional AR routers as part of its managed enterprise services.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei Gets Active in the Data Center

4|9|15   |   3:17   |   (0) comments


With enterprise users looking to maximize the use of their data center assets, Huawei’s Chief Architect & Technical Director of IT Data Center Solutions, Bruce Su, explains how the company's six-layer active-active data center solution is eradicating the need to deploy passive, redundant data center assets.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Blue Consult & Huawei for a Better Solution

4|8|15   |   4:01   |   (0) comments


Martin Rott, CEO, and Marc Metzler, head of sales virtualization, from Germany's Blue Consult discuss their collaboration with Huawei and TrendMicro to develop a secure, scalable IT platform that can meet the needs of the most demanding enterprise users.
Upcoming Live Events
May 5, 2015, Hyatt McCormick Place, Chicago, IL
May 6, 2015, Georgia World Congress, Atlanta, GA
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
June 10, 2015, Chicago, IL
September 29-30, 2015, The Westin Grand Müchen, Munich, Germany
November 11-12, 2015, The Westin Peachtree Plaza, Atlanta, GA
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
Network Instruments, a JDSU division, shares results from its 2015 State of the Network, a global survey on security.
Hot Topics
Verizon Scores New OTT Content Deals
Mari Silbey, Independent Technology Editor, 4/16/2015
What if the Comcast Merger Fails?
Mari Silbey, Independent Technology Editor, 4/20/2015
Nokia & Alcatel-Lucent: What's Going On?
Ray Le Maistre, Editor-in-chief, 4/15/2015
Nokia + AlcaLu: What the Analysts Say
Ray Le Maistre, Editor-in-chief, 4/14/2015
Huawei P8 Launch: Cue Applause!
Ray Le Maistre, Editor-in-chief, 4/16/2015
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
Webinar Archive
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
Data Center Interconnect, or DCI, is one of the hottest sectors in telecom currently. Since coming back to Light Reading last year, prodigal-son style, I've ...
LR CEO and Founder Steve Saunders sits down with the head of Qosmos to talk about the changing state of the art in deep packet inspection technology, including its role in SDN and NFV architectures.