SDN architectures

Leading Lights Finalists: Most Innovative SDN Deployment (Network/Data Center Operator)

If you want to rise to the top of carrier SDN deployments this year, you need to think big. Like, big as the whole planet.

Software-defined networks theoretically can be as small as any network -- down to two devices. They're often deployed within data centers and campuses.

But the finalists for "Most Innovative SDN Deployment" strategy are putting the "wide" in "wide area networks" with one available in 19 markets worldwide.

Also, the finalists are betting big on the canonical benefits of SDN: Agility, customer self-service and reduced costs.

The finalists are:

Facing exploding data traffic, up 100,000% over the past eight years, AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) turned to a solution that's proven in the IT industry and applied it to the wide area network: AT&T's network shifts control from hardware to software. That's the heart of AT&T's Domain 2.0 vendor plan, designed to meet accelerating bandwidth demand while also dramatically improving economics and profitability.

AT&T plans to virtualize and control over 75% of its network using the new software-defined architecture. It launched Network On Demand, its first SDN-enabled network services, in 2014, allowing customers to increase or decrease network bandwidth nearly in real time. It's working to virtualize the mobile packet core, beginning with Connected Car applications and MVNO services this year. AT&T is virtualizing its enterprise and consumer VoIP architecture, including VoLTE, so it all runs on one network, called the Virtualized Universal Service Platform.

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AT&T runs virtualized functions for its next-generation network architecture on AT&T Integrated Cloud (AIC) nodes. It has 29 nodes, with plans to run at least 40 more. Out of 150 network functions AT&T wants to virtualize and control with its target architecture, AT&T's plan is to transform 5% by the end of the year. Once the company has a proven methodology, it plans to transform more network functions over the next few years to drive to 75% by 2020.


Internet2 & GlobalNOC
Internet2 is running a production SDN testbed with millions of customers on a national 100G environment, using a bring-your-own controller architecture -- users can run their own production controller against the common, national, 100G network. The strategy enables an "SDN network of SDN networks," encouraging rapid deployment of SDN applications to millions of prototype users on hundreds of large campus enterprise networks.

The hypervisor, which allows an SDN network to be converted to a multi-tenant SDN network with multiple controllers, was developed, tested, and deployed in time for announcement in October 2014, with resources from the Indiana University GlobalNOC development team.

Next page: Delivering services

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