NEW YORK -- Ethernet & SDN Expo -- So many different visions for software-defined networking (SDN) were discussed here this week that many of the 1,300-plus attendees may have felt their heads spinning by the end of the event.
However, at least one vendor -- NetSocket -- stood out from the crowd by outlining a way for enterprises with multiple locations to place a safe bet on SDN. (See Netsocket Brings SDN to Distributed Enterprise.)
The vendor announced the availability of an SDN virtual network solution that can be deployed at a large enterprise's remote sites and branch offices. It's a market segment that has not received as much SDN consideration thus far as the datacenter or the broader wide area network, according to NetSocket's chief operating officer Tricia Hosek, who participated in our SDN-related show floor video challenge. (See What Does SDN Mean to You?.)
NetSocket's answer is an enterprise and WAN (wide area network) edge software-only solution -- the Netsocket Virtual Network (NVN) vNetCommander Enterprise Edition orchestration application -- aimed at helping enterprises extend SDN to remote branches, or even throughout campus environments without an additional equipment investment. The offering is part of the NVN suite NetSocket announced in July. (See Netsocket Unveils Virtualized SDN Solution.)
The solution supports automated deployment, installation, configuration, and orchestration of virtualized networks for a whole enterprise from a centralized console.
However, NetSocket product manager Dave Corley argues that cost savings his company claims can be achieved from using the system -- up to three-times capex and five-times opex savings when compared with the deployment of single-purpose hardware -- means that vNetCommander can be used on a piecemeal and incremental basis by enterprises that just want to experiment with SDN benefits in a small way before making a bigger bet. "You can really just do this to one enterprise branch, and see how that goes," he says.
While the solution is targeted at the enterprise market, improving provisioning of services to those remote sites is not only an enterprise concern: It's also an issue for service providers that serve those enterprises. "In a few weeks, we're going to start taking it to the service providers as well," Hosek says. "It's going to be compelling to service providers who spend all day out in the field installing and provisioning remote offices."
vNetCommander is an application layer SDN solution, and though NetSocket already offers products at the controller and infrastructure layers, Corley says the vendor will focus more on the application layer in the future. "The controller and infrastructure layers will commoditize quickly as SDN becomes more mature," he says.
— Dan O'Shea, Managing Editor, Light Reading