A major goal of SDN is to both simplify and consolidate network functions, replacing specialized hardware with commodity switches, servers, etc. It enables vertical integration with application control over the network through SDN APIs.
There sure is a lot of discourse for something that will simplify networks, operations, and application introduction.
Here are some of the things that we have heard during the course of developing our research report, Software Defined Networking (SDN) Solutions, Market Opportunities and Forecast 2014 – 2019:
1. SDN is just hype. AT&T appears to be the latest large enterprise to adopt SDN and network virtualization, joining Cisco, Citrix, Ericsson, HP, IBM, Juniper Networks, Microsoft and more. With this many big players jumping into the ring, SDN is here to stay.
2. SDN is the same as NFV. WhileSoftware Defined Networking (SDN) and Network Function Virtualization (NFV) are definitely related, network virtualization is just one application of SDN. In fact, NVF is complementary to SDN, but neither is dependent on the other.
3. SDN threatens profits. Maybe. But, like every new technology tool, there are no guarantees. No doubt some companies will do very well when they implement SDN; others will not. Some are making noise that networking vendors (usually mentioning Cisco) will seek to control the SDN protocol in order to maintain their profitability.
4. SDN increases profits. [see also number 3] SDN is still in its infancy, so the potential for growth is enormous. But, because it is open source, some companies (like IBM) may anticipate lower profit margins because competitors can only compete based on cost.
5. SDN will ruin hardware vendors. Cisco has been the poster child for this claim, with one Forbes contributor claiming, “Cisco has more to lose than anyone else if SDN is successful and has more to gain than anyone else if it is not.”
6. SDN will doom CCNAs and CCIEs. Naturally as technology shifts, so will technology skills. And according to The Cisco Learning Network, the company is “committed to making sure that network engineers, designers, and support staff have the knowledge and understanding they need to stay relevant and help their employers with this shift in network infrastructure,” citing that Cisco recently announced network programmability training that addresses four industry job roles that will continue to evolve.
7. SDN is not progressing as rapidly as we expected. This is just silly. Developing and integrating new systems and technologies – and getting it right — simply takes time. And while one recent survey of 321 IT professionals concluded that less than 30 percent have deployed or plan to deploy SDN in the next 12 months, with another 40 percent having no plans to implement the technology, Cisco officials found that 71 percent of respondents to their survey said they plan to deploy SDN this year “for a range of reasons, from creating more programmable networks to reducing costs.”
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