Unraveling the mystery of software-defined networking

Sean Buckley, FierceTelecomSoftware-defined networking (SDN) is a new buzz word in the telecom and IT worlds, with promises of automation and enhanced service provisioning times.

FireceTelecom examines the SDN trend in its latest eBook, Putting the Spotlight on Software Defined Networks

Despite its potential, the SDN concept comes with a number of challenges. Besides the lack of an industry standard, service providers and vendors need to figure out how to integrate SDN with existing OSS/BSS.

Tier 1 and Tier 2 service providers such as Savvis and DukeNet are seeing the potential of SDN.

Savvis, CenturyLink's (NYSE: CTL) data center and cloud subsidiary, said that while its customers aren't asking for SDN specifically, they are asking for applications and services to be delivered in timeframes that live outside of the traditional telco world. SDN could enable providers to automate functions, such as reducing the time it takes to conduct a cross-connect in a data center.

Likewise, DukeNet, a regional fiber-based competitive provider which is conducting an internal proof-of-concept trial with Cyan, said it could see how SDN can help its wholesale and enterprise customers to allocate bandwidth to fulfill certain events like overnight backup.  

The SDN ecosystem is attracting a number of different players to the table. A number of subsystem, security and silicon vendors such as Radisys, Intel, and Symantec are establishing elements for the SDN ecosystem. 

Fierce ebook SDNOver the past year, a number of established and emerging hardware vendors, including Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU), Cisco (Nasdaq: CSCO), Cyan, Infinera (Nasdaq: INFN) and Juniper Networks (NYSE: JNPR), have begun to offer elements of SDN on their platforms.

To better target new SDN opportunities, Alcatel-Lucent, Cisco and Juniper Networks have been upping their SDN product lines by purchasing other SDN-related companies and creating "spin-in" divisions. Juniper, for example, acquired Contrail Systems for $176 million, while Alcatel-Lucent and Cisco created Nuage and Insieme. 

FierceTelecom delves into these aspects of SDN and more in our new eBook. If you want to know more about the future of SDN, download Putting the Spotlight on Software Defined Networks today.--Sean