No One Cares About Our SDN

Readers of this blog know that Software Defined Networking is a popular topic in our industry. Nearly every recent Networking Field Day session has involved some form or flavor of SDN. The centralized control plane concept promises to provide a control point for various APIs and allow for service chaining and orchestration. While the industry is going through some growing pains, a changing future is something we can be sure of.

While these new concepts are cool and exciting, many around us just don’t care. Everyone in non-Netowrking roles just wants a robust network and don’t care how we achieve that. The ability to steer flows and chain services is way cool. Unlike geeks, the customers and our bosses don’t care about cool. SDN holds more promise than its cool factor to geeks. As I see it, there are many benefits that organization will realize as SDN matures.

Benefits of Software Defined Networks

  • Abstracted Control Plane for a Central Point of Management
  • Granular Control of Flows (as required/desired)
  • Network Function Virtualization and Service Chaining
  • Decreased dependence on devices like load balancers
  • Facilitation of system orchestration
  • Easier troubleshooting/visibility
  • Platform for chargeback/showback
  • Decreased complexity and cost
  • Increased ability to utilize hardware and interconnections
  • DevOps friendly architecture

The bottom line is that while I think SDN is cool, most could care less. Customers and organizations that we work for want a reliable, scalable network. As geeks and technologists, we have some work required to sell the benefits. We must strive to demonstrate the value of breaking down silos, creating IT agility, and provide a framework that gives our organizations a real competitive advantage.

Readers of this article may also enjoy:

  1. Did You Say SDN?
  2. Why is SDN Happening faster than IPv6?

About Paul Stewart, CCIE 26009 (Security)

Paul is a Network and Security Engineer, Trainer and Blogger who enjoys understanding how things really work. With over 15 years of experience in the technology industry, Paul has helped many organizations build, maintain and secure their networks and systems.
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3 Responses to No One Cares About Our SDN

  1. Pingback: No One Cares About Our SDN

  2. Outside of field days how far has SDN gone? From an SP standpoint many silos exist and they exist despite network technology and it’s changes. For example. architect, engineering and operations are completely separate groups with their own tasks. Processes in place by management will never allow some companies, particularly SPs, to combine the groups. They work by what they believe is “checks and balance”. They have no plans on adding developers into the mix. DevOps, if it does happen will happen in Operations but it will be engineering that will write down how it’s done and architects that will draw the network out.

    Speaking from experience lets consider a single port turn up. Engineering makes the configuration, operations pastes the configuration in. SLA is 14 business days, yes 14 days due to all the other requests for one port. All port turn ups must happen in a defined maint window after it’s gone through a few checks and reviews by peers and validation software. This policy is to prevent risk of any chance of accidental outage even if there isn’t one. Now implement SDN without any organizational changes and leave the SLA intact. Field days to me are what we wish would happen. What I just described is reality.

    I think you are right in that management only indirectly cares about reliable, scalable networks. What they really care about is no customer outages, low cost or no cost and increased revenue. If keeping an old x25 network running with crazy routing will do that, they have no problem with it.

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