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SDN architectures

How Carriers Should Respond to SDN and DDoS

NEW YORK -- Packet-Optical Transport Evolution 2013 -- A former cloud-networking executive's advice is for the telecom industry to get going with software-defined networking (SDN) and to do something big about distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks. They aren't directly related issues, but they were both on the mind of Dennis Brouwer, the afternoon keynoter at POTE on Tuesday. Brouwer recently started his own consulting firm, The Brouwer Group, but he previously launched the Converged Cloud strategy at Savvis and stuck around as a senior vice president after Savvis was acquired by CenturyLink Inc. On the subject of SDN, Brouwer is a true believer in open-source and thinks carriers will have to embrace it to make sure "that the capabilities that service providers want to fold into their infrastructures become viable." The OpenDaylight Foundation is making a run at that, building an open-source SDN framework. Brouwer didn't directly refer to the number of large vendors involved in OpenDaylight, but he did note that a dynamic SDN ecosystem "can't be just the usual big providers." Some carrier has to come out and champion SDN as well, in a way much bigger than what's been done so far, he said. Someone has to take the lead by showing what's possible. It would have to be a carrier with a wide reach, one that owns not just a network but data centers, and maybe mobile networks and some content as well. Candidates would include the big U.S. carriers now that they've acquired cloud operations -- Brouwer mentioned Verizon Communications Inc. with its Terramark acquisition, as well as his old CenturyLink home and AT&T Inc., which he noted has done work internally. A sleeper possibility would be Comcast Corp.. Regarding DDoS, Brouwer talked about the attacks becoming more vicious -- arriving at speeds that can exceed 60Gbit/s -- and harder to trace, since the attack can now come from "everywhere." Once considered a nuisance, DDoS attacks have become serious, looming threats. "As you talk with the companies that are being targeted by these attacks, they're saying, to use the old Jaws analogy, 'We're looking for a bigger boat,'" he said. Companies have dealt with DDoS on their own, but the potential for a national emergency means some kind of federally coordinated response is necessary, Brouwer said. He didn't say federally mandated. His point was that the companies facing this threat -- banks in particular -- need to pool and organize their efforts, and find a way to join forces if necessary. Any number of government agencies would be appropriate for that job, Brouwer said. — Craig Matsumoto, Managing Editor, Light Reading
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