Software-defined networking (SDN) has been the hottest technology trend in the datacenter environment, but its appeal also is broadening to the telecom transport sector. One of the workshop programs at Ethernet & SDN Expo (ESDN) at the Javits Center in New York City this week -- "The Power and the Promise of Packet Optical Transport 2.0" -- will delve further into that concept.
Several companies are already touting the concept of transport SDN, though Sterling Perrin, senior analyst, Heavy Reading, says transport SDN is really a subset of the broader applications for SDN in the wide area network (See Carrier SDN vs. Transport SDN).
"Transport SDN is really more like Layers 0-1, so having to do with DWDM and OTN switch elements," he says. "SDN for Layers 2-3 will be something else."
Perrin will moderate a panel as part of the packet optical workshop on Thursday at ESDN from 10:15 a.m. to 11:25 a.m. called "Network Solutions Vendor Perspectives -- SDN For Packet Optical Networks (Layers 0 - 2)." That panel will sort through some of the issues of integrating SDN in the still-developing packet optical network environment.
As part of Perrin's panel, Chris Janz, vice president of market development at Ciena, is expected to talk about its Open Testbed project involving Internet 2, Canarie and Starlight. The group discussion also will encompass applicable standards, such as the Open Networking Foundation's OpenFlow extensions, the IETF's GMPLS standard.
Early trials and testbeds by companies like Google, NTT, ESNet, and others have done solid work in showing that SDN can work in the wide area network outside of datacenters, but Perrin says it's still early in the game. "We're still really in a use-case stage for SDN in the wide area," he says. "A lot of people are proposing projects and working things out as to how SDN in the wide area will develop."
— Dan O'Shea, Managing Editor, Light Reading