SDN outliers

What’s caused the biggest evolution in SDN is the realization that very few organizations really have the desire, skills and incentives to write a new class of applications to a published API to program the network. These users are outlying use cases compared to the vast majority of organizations just looking to automate IT tasks, accelerate application deployment, make their cloud networks more flexible, and better align their IT infrastructure with business requirements. The focus has shifted from SDN being an open API/controller platform, to a platform capable of hosting a myriad of orchestration and IT workflow automation solutions that drive customers to their end goal.”
Gary Kinghorn
on the Cisco Blog.

Gary makes a persuasive argument… mostly.

Gary’s great post (have a read) is right in saying that the vast majority of organisations won’t have the desire, skills or incentives to develop applications that program their networks via API stacks.

The outliers are an important part of what SDN is all about though, within the context of two primary use cases:

  1. The organisations that have the greatest need for virtualised networks (ie CSPs, OTT, data centres, utilities, education facilities, large corporates) will have the desire, skills and incentives to develop programmable networks to give themselves more speed and flexibility
  2. A model that supports network innovation in software vastly expands the long tail of innovation because the barrier to entry in the traditional HDN (Hardware Defined Networking) is massive. This allows inventors who aren’t linked with equipment manufacturers like Cisco to build alternative network models without first having to design and manufacture physical devices

The exciting part for me is that these outlier cases also represent the opportunity for anybody to build new and improved versions of OSS / orchestration / automation management tools.

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