NFV (Network functions virtualization)

LR Poll: SDN Faces Myriad Challenges

Software-defined networking (SDN) is facing multiple barriers to deployment, not one single problem, the Light Reading community told us in our most recent poll. (See: Carrier SDN Barriers.)

More than 900 readers participated in the poll, in which we asked community members, "What is the biggest barrier to the widespread deployment of SDN capabilities in telco networks?" Given five specific options, almost 40 percent couldn't choose just one issue; they picked "all of the above" as the most fitting description of SDN's challenges.

Nearly 18 percent chose "immature products." This indicates that, though vendors are scrambling to add SDN capabilities to their portfolios, those capabilities aren't yet seen as market tested. Almost 13 percent chose "management and orchestration concerns," which have gotten a lot of attention recently on this site. (See" SDN & NFV to Shake Up Operator OSS Market, Heavy Reading Finds and ESDN: OSS Implosion.)

Security concerns and market caution each garnered about 8 percent of reader votes, while roughly 4 percent cited a lack of products.

A bit surprisingly, almost 5 percent of the Light Reading community are total optimists on the subject -- they see no barriers at all. And mendyk, our resident pessimist, said in the comments that "internal issues" could be another factor holding the telcos back.

— Carol Wilson, Editor-at-Large, Light Reading

DOShea 10/23/2013 | 2:19:05 PM
All of the above I think I would have said "all of the above" even before knowing what all the choices were--it's that clear that such a major transformation will need to negotiate many, many technical and cultural hurdles before being fully realized.
shawn_mc 10/23/2013 | 11:00:41 AM
Re: Operational tooling and security ought to jump I was going to say almost the exact same thing. Given the maturity of the technology, it's expected that the product maturity and how you will manage these new products will take center stage until it looks like they may actually roll out into the network, and then Security concerns should rise near the top of the heap. I guess the largest category of "All of the above" says a lot in itself.
@mbushong 10/23/2013 | 10:13:11 AM
Operational tooling and security ought to jump I suspect that operational tooling and security ought to be a bit higher. But those things don't get exposed until people get past the evaluation stages of solutions. This means we are likely still a ways away from broad deployments - not surprisingly. 

I am anxious to see what kinds of troubleshooting tools emerge. We have already seen the monitoring applications enter the SDN arena. Extending those types of things to cover more operational aspects of running a network seems logical.

There will also need to be SDN equivalents for things like ping and traceroute (as examples). State collection and correlation will also matter. These will be best handled as an explicit part of design rather than an afterthought. I suspect vendors planning these up front will ultimately fare better. 

This does mean customers need to be asking more in depth questions about some of these operational aspects though. Choosing the right architecture without the right tools might be a disappointing experience.


Mike Bushong (@mbushong)

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