SDN architectures

Why Ciena Shuns the SDN Tag

SDN (software-defined networking), along with LTE, is among the hottest terms in the communications equipment sector right now, but some companies are shying away from using it.

Ciena Corp. (NYSE: CIEN) is one of those companies, even though it has developed capabilities that are SDN-like. (See Ciena Opens Up to Software-Defined Networking.)

So what is Ciena's beef with the term?

"We like the concept but we have been careful about the term as many people see it as a cheaper way to do a router," states Tom Mock, senior VP of corporate marketing and communications during a recent conversation with Light Reading in London (prior to the recent financials -- see Burnt Ciena: Optical Stock Falls After a Tough Quarter).

"We are taking the principle and applying it to the lower [network] levels," he adds. "We didn't want people to think we were getting into the router replacement business."

Instead, Ciena is pushing ahead with its OPn architecture and supporting OneControl management system that the vendor expects to have developed for its full platform portfolio before the end of this year. Mock says the development of a single control plane software system was accelerated by the acquisition of Nortel's Metro Ethernet Networks (MEN) division in 2010. (See Ciena Closes Nortel MEN Purchase and Ciena Beats NSN to Buy Nortel's MEN.)

Recent SDN news and market analysis includes:

— Ray Le Maistre, International Managing Editor, Light Reading

CyanInc 12/5/2012 | 5:22:03 PM
re: Why Ciena Shuns the SDN Tag

Its true that many in our industry currently associate SDN with the commoditization of routing hardware. However when SDN concepts are applied to the WAN, its less about commoditized hardware and more about the orchestration benefits of multi-layer, centralized control, with open APIs, and multi-vendor solutions.

Many vendors will embrace SDN, both in name and in spirit. The challenge is that for a while, the noise around SDN will make it difficult to recognize which vendors really have metro SDN solutions and which ones simply want to associate with the latest industry buzz.

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