AT&T: Data Drive Demands SDNs
Chiosi compared the current suggested move to OpenFlow, with its more centralized routing intelligence, to the transition voice networks made to SS7, when voice call routing was handled more intelligently through a separate signaling network of signal transfer points and service switching points. (See Why Verizon Is Keen on OpenFlow.)
"By taking the network intelligence out of the router and put it into a server, you can ride the wave of the server market, which is dictated by Moore's Law," Chiosi said. To ride that wave in the router world, she adds, requires installation of new blades, physical swaps and then the software upgrades, she added.
"There's a lot of skepticism," Chiosi admitted. "But the world has done this before -- we did it with the voice network."
Moving to a software-defined network is one of the key transitions the industry needs to leverage the move to cloud services, Chiosi said. It would enable network applications to request and manipulate services provided by the network and allow the network to expose its state back to the applications.
The basic approach to wide-area networking also needs to change, she added. Today's WANs are designed for multi-year contracts, not dynamic, on-demand services. Service providers need to define the types of services needed to support applications by latency and availability and then offer those services on an on-demand basis for set durations of time.
"The physical provisioning still needs to take place, and that takes time, but once you have that, the service provisioning can be instantaneous, and customers should be able to pay as they go," Chiosi said.
— Carol Wilson, Chief Editor, Events, Light Reading