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The Slow Shift to SDN

Ray Le Maistre

The results of a survey of Ethernet & SDN Executive Council members from 73 service providers conducted in April/May 2013 provide a telling snapshot of telco executive views on the hottest topic in the sector -- the introduction and impact of software-defined networking (SDN) capabilities.

The results, published in full by Heavy Reading in the "Ethernet & SDN Executive Council State-of-the-Industry Survey Report, 2Q13," reveal healthy interest in SDN developments but suggest it will be some years yet before the deployment of SDN capabilities has an impact on the Ethernet, IP and wavelength services market.

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Marc Cohn
Marc Cohn,
User Rank: Blogger
8/20/2013 | 8:58:41 AM
Two years to impact is not exactly slow...
As Jim Theodoras already commented, considering the transformative nature of SDN, Ciena is encouraged by what we perceive as a rapid shift to SDN by Network Operators. As the infographic shows, more than 40 percent of those surveyed indicated that SDN will be "widely adopted to the point that it significantly impacts the competitive landscape for services" within the next two years. And 80 percent of the Network Operators agreed with the premise, versus two percent that definitely do not.
sam masud
sam masud,
User Rank: Light Sabre
8/19/2013 | 1:13:57 PM
Details, details, details...
Interesting poll, but I'd like to know what exactly does adoption of SDN mean. Does it mean adoption of OpenFlow or some other open API--or does SDN adoption mean going higher up the food chain to the apps?
User Rank: Light Beer
8/15/2013 | 11:09:19 AM
Fast by Telco standards?
I guess it all depends upon your frame of reference. Sure, SDN adoption might appear slow compared to the latest smartphone adoption rates, but considering the glacial pace of development of previous transport network protocols, I consider SDN development to be blazingly fast.

For the true benefits of SDN to be realized, everything must play well together. The Northbound and Southbound software interfaces are "open", as is the hardware controller in the middle. I agree that we are about to see a wave of multivendor testbeds that quantify the benefit of SDN, as well as interoperability plugfests that validate the openness of the approach.

There is a lot of work left be done, but fortunately most of the pieces are being worked on in parallel. The next couple years should be very exciting for the SDN tifosi.
User Rank: Lightning
8/15/2013 | 8:57:13 AM
Time for the testbeds
Good infographic and one I'd expect most to agree with. There's been such an incredible amount of hype and posturing around this topic. I'm glad to see that we're now moving beyond this phase and diving deeper into the important issues. One of the next steps will be to hear more from the varied testbeds.  
User Rank: Light Sabre
8/15/2013 | 6:56:17 AM
Specific Plans
With the SDN strategies still being worked out, I'd be pretty interested in any details from those planning to roll in the next 18 months.  Not only in vendor alignment but to the extent of which part of the total architecture they are planning to have SDN implemented.  I guess the two will be tied together; I'm curious if the focus is more on datacenter automation and flexibility or network facing simplification, or something else.  I wonder if any of the readers in this situation care to share their plans even if in general.
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