AT&T, CenturyLink and other large Tier 1 telco deployments of SDN indicate that a growing majority of service providers are moving from proof-of-concept (PoC) evaluations to commercial deployments in 2016 and 2017.
While service adoption will vary according to service provider, a new IHS Markit survey revealed the top SDN/NFV application was virtual CPE/managed services with over 70 percent of respondents saying it was the most important service.
Not far behind was metacloud, which came in at 60 percent. Finally, 50-55 percent of survey respondents said services like bandwidth on demand, service and elastic service chaining were also important.
As service providers seek to gain service agility, time to revenue, operational efficiency and capex savings, service providers said they will deploy SDN in three main network domains for deployment by the end of 2017: Within data centers and between data centers, along with ensuring access for businesses.
Michael Howard, senior research director of carrier networks at IHS Markit, said that despite the promise that SDN brings in terms of service agility, service providers will deploy SDN in a phased approach.
“Still, carriers are starting carefully with SDN, biting off small chunks of their networks called “contained domains” in which they will explore, trial, test and make initial deployments,” Howard said in a research note. “Momentum is strong, but it will be many years before bigger parts of networks or entire networks are controlled by SDN –although a few operators are leading the way including AT&T, Level 3, Colt, Orange Business Systems, SK Telecom and Telefónica, among others.”
One of the key impediments that service providers cited in their migration to SDN was what Howard said were a “lack of carrier-grade products and integration of virtual networking into their existing physical networks.”
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