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.
Jonestown
Mobile Backhaul: Going to the Dark Side?

10|30|14   |   2:26   |   (1) comment


Heavy Reading's Patrick Donegan shares his view on a dark trend that bubbled up at Light Reading's annual backhaul conference in NYC.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
2014 Huawei Electric Power Industry Summit: Interview With CEO of SwitchCom

10|30|14   |   4:13   |   (0) comments


SwitchCom, an IT company based in Angola, recommends a variety of Huawei solutions and hardware to their customers in the energy industry.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
2014 Huawei Electric Power Industry Summit: Interview With Ethiopia's Ministry of Water Irrigation & Energy

10|30|14   |   4:08   |   (0) comments


Gosaye Mengistie of Ethiopia's Ministry of Water Irrigation & Energy discusses the collaboration with Huawei in that country.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
2014 Huawei Electric Power Industry Summit: Interview with Dongfang Electronics Corporation

10|30|14   |   5:46   |   (0) comments


Dongfang Electronics Corporation, headquartered in Chengdu, China, is one of China's largest manufacturers of power generators and contractors of power station projects.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
2014 Huawei Electric Power Industry Summit: Interview with Zimbabwe's Customers

10|30|14   |   3:31   |   (0) comments


Representatives of Zimbabwe's Ministry of Power and Development discuss the energy needs of their country as well as new areas of improvement due to enhanced ICT capabilities.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
2014 Huawei Electric Power Industry Summit: Interview With Colbún Chile

10|30|14   |   4:29   |   (0) comments


In Chile, an aging energy infrastructure was in dire need of a modern update. Claudio Valenzuela of Colbún discusses how Huawei's ICT solutions continue to provide crucial information to improve the grid and how an in-country engineer is a cricial asset.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
2014 Huawei Electric Power Industry Summit: Interview With YuLiao

10|30|14   |   6:27   |   (0) comments


Yu Liao, chairman of the Chinese Association for Renewable Energy in Germany, discusses the role that ICT solutions play in helping to grow renewable energy resources in Germany.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
2014 Huawei Electric Power Industry Summit: Interview

10|30|14   |   2:54   |   (0) comments


Sifang has been working with Huawei on several projects. JingTao Wu, Assistant President of Beijing Sifang Automation Co. Ltd., believes that the cooperation with Huawei can facilitate Sifang's process of internationalization.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
A Better Connected Smart Grid: Powering Laos

10|30|14   |   5:38   |   (0) comments


Representatives of Electricite Du Laos (EDL), a state-owned corporation, discuss the importance of ICT solutions in serving their country's energy needs.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
2014 Huawei Electric Power Industry Summit: Interview With Junwei Lu

10|30|14   |   4:50   |   (0) comments


Professor Junwei Lu of Griffith University Australia describes his work with micro grid technology and the future of the power industry.
LRTV Documentaries
The Next-Gen Network Disconnect

10|29|14   |   01:23   |   (2) comments


There's a lot of talk about making networks more simple with SDN, NFV and next-gen broadband technology – but what about the complexity of introducing such capabilities?
LRTV Custom TV
Grow Your VPN Service Revenue

10|27|14   |   4:00   |   (0) comments


Watch how CSP product managers can better differentiate and maximize the value of their Internet, VPN and cloud services for business services customers, by adding premium application performance visibility to their data services.
Upcoming Live Events
November 6, 2014, Santa Clara
November 11, 2014, Atlanta, GA
December 2, 2014, New York City
December 3, 2014, New York City
December 9-10, 2014, Reykjavik, Iceland
February 10, 2015, Atlanta, GA
May 6, 2015, McCormick Convention Center, Chicago, IL
May 30, 2015, The Westin Peachtree, Atlanta, GA
June 9-10, 2015, Chicago, IL
Infographics
WhoIsHostingThis.com presents six of the world's most extreme WiFi hotspots, enabling the most epic selfies you can imagine.
Hot Topics
Microsoft's Skype Embraces WebRTC on IE
Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, 10/27/2014
FTC Slaps AT&T With Throttling Lawsuit
Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, 10/28/2014
Wheeler Gets Down With OTT
Mari Silbey, Independent Technology Editor, 10/29/2014
China's MVNOs Hit the Wall
Robert Clark, 10/27/2014
Let's Not Kill SDN & NFV With Silos
Francois Locoh-Donou, Senior VP, Global Products Group, Ciena, 10/28/2014
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed