|Innovating The Next Big Thing||May 25, 2013|
• Analyst Insights
• Enterprise Insights
• Network & Information Security
• Enterprise Mobility
• Remembering 9/11
Next Innovator Group
Feedjit Live Web Stats
• Ghost City
Ovum: Software-defined networks edge closer to reality
Jun 21, 2012 – Roy Illsley
The concept that the network can become a complete software-defined network (SDN) has been about for many years, and in fact, Juniper Networks spoke about it in 2009 when it announced the “new network”. The benefits of an SDN are expressed as reduced operating expenditure through increased use of automation, and a subsequent improvement in the speed to deploy. However, the challenges of using an SDN are not fully understood, and these will only become clearer as organizations begin to understand more about how an SDN will operate. The truth is that SDN or programmable networks are still some way from becoming a reality. However, Juniper with its Juniper Networks QFabric System has developed its original concept of separating data and control paths to produce an approach that represents a step in the right direction toward SDN.
Centralize what you can, distribute what you must
Juniper pioneered the separation of the data path from the control path in its networking products 16 years ago, which although not entirely analogous to how an SDN is defined today, did at least represent new thinking about network solutions. To fully understand the current applicability of SDN, the network must be categorized into sub-elements or domains. There is no standard definition of these roles, but those used by Juniper represent a valid way to segment the network. The seven domains used by Juniper are: Access & Aggregation, Edge, Core, Data Center (DC), Campus & Branch, WAN, and Consumer & Business devices. Ovum advocates that the technology is currently only relevant for the DC and Campus & Branch domains in terms of supporting SDN concepts. While many would argue that edge devices are the biggest areas that need to be addressed and are more relevant to the concepts of programmable networks, they are also the domains where technology is less stable, hence its applicability to adopt new concepts that are more likely to generate problems.
The concept of an SDN recognizes that not every problem can be solved by the distribution of systems. In addition, the controller currently provides more than one specific role or purpose, for example, storage, compute, and network controller capabilities, and to further complicate matters these operate both upward-stream and downward-stream in terms of communication channels. The first question to ask therefore is what functionality should be in the network and what should be in the controller. For example, provisioning in a distributed way does not have all the information in one place so would make sub-optimal decisions, and likewise, monitoring and identifying the average utilization of a network would be very difficult to perform as a distributed function only. But with the advent of packet switching, a lot of functionality was put in network nodes, such as topology or forwarding, and the centralized functions were management.
The SDN purist view is to go back to the old telephone world where control was centralized. Ovum believes this view is flawed precisely because of the issues raised above: topology discovery and the ability to forward packets needs to be done in the nodes. It is therefore likely that the future is an even split of what is centralized and distributed, but this will be dependent on domain.
OpenFlow is a game-changer
One of the core principles of SDN is to use automation as much as possible and also to use an open standard to communicate between the controller and the network. Currently OpenFlow is an emerging open-source answer to the communication challenge, but it is still focused on developing the standard and as such is considered at best a version 1.0 release, with many commentators believing it needs to mature to a version 2.5 level before it will begin to have any influence on the SDN movement. Ovum believes that to fully enable an open standard, more work is needed on defining which functionality is the role of the controller, and which is embedded in the network, but we do believe that OpenFlow represents a potential game-changer in the wider adoption of SDNs.
» Send this article to a friend...
» Comments? Tell us what you think...
» More Analyst Insights articles...
Commentsblog comments powered by Disqus
Support This Site
• 5/24 Frontline Sentinel: What Java's installer should really say (Funny)
• 5/24 Frontline Sentinel: How to build C-level support for the benefits of penetration testing
• 5/23 Frontline Sentinel: "Interview with a Blackhat" by Whitehat Security
• 5/23 Gartner Says IT Spending in Indian Banking and Securities Market To Reach 422 Billion Rupees In 2013
• 5/23 Gartner Announces Rankings of Its 2013 Supply Chain Top 25
• 5/23 iSuppli: Global Touch-Screen Panel Shipments to Double by 2016, IHS Analyst Announces at SID
• 5/23 iSuppli: Falling Commodity Prices Give Buyers Using Cost Analysis the Upper Hand in Supplier Negotiations
• 5/23 Wireless Watch: New Intel chief puts post-smartphone devices at the heart of his agenda
• 5/23 Wireless Watch: Satellite spectrum under siege from cellular predators
• 5/23 Faultline: TiVo blows away numbers – still ignored by investors
• 5/23 Faultline: Yahoo gambles on social networking to make up for lost time
• 5/23 Canalys: Top iOS and Android apps largely absent on Windows Phone and BlackBerry 10 - App quality not quantity now needs to be the priority for Microsoft and BlackBerry
• 5/22 2013 Security Market Outlook - Gartner Security & Risk Management Summit Preview
• 5/22 iSuppli: China’s Labor Day LCD TV Sales Surge by Double-Digit Percentage
• 5/21 Gartner Says IT Operations and Management Software Market Grew 4.8 Percent in 2012
• 5/21 iSuppli: One Quarter of All Notebooks to Ship with Touchscreens by 2016; Intel Endorses Touch Technology at SID
• 5/21 iSuppli: Can UHD Televisions Avoid the Fate of 3D Sets?
• 5/21 iSuppli: After a Year of Decline, Global Flat-Panel TV Market Ekes Out Marginal Growth in the First Quarter
• 5/21 Frontline Sentinel: Network perimeter security: How to audit remote access services
• 5/20 Gartner Says Business Intelligence/Analytics Is Top Area for CFO Technology Investment Through 2014
• 5/20 Gartner Says Worldwide Supply Chain Management Software Market Grew 7.1 Percent to Reach $8.3 Billion in 2012
• 5/20 Yahoo Acquisition of Tumblr Can Lead to Content Platforms
• 5/20 iSuppli: Top IHS Experts to Attend SID Display Week 2013
• 5/20 iSuppli: How Intel Can Enable a Successful $200 PC in the Age of the Media Tablet
• 5/16 iSuppli: Shipments of Sports and Fitness Monitors to Total One-Quarter Billion from 2013 Through 2017
• 5/16 Canalys: World-class speaker line-up announced for Canalys Channels Forums 2013 - Confirmed sponsors include Lenovo, HP, Cisco and EMC at keynote level
• 5/15 Gartner Says PC Market in Western Europe Declined 20.5 Percent in First Quarter of 2013
• 5/15 Gartner Highlights 2013 Cool Vendors That Are Transforming How Businesses Operate
• 5/15 iSuppli: Google Unlikely to Deploy its Fiber Broadband Service Nationwide
• 5/14 Asia Pacific CEOs View Themselves as Tech-Savvy Pioneers, According to Gartner CEO and Senior Business Executive Survey
• 5/14 Gartner Says Asia/Pacific Led Worldwide Mobile Phone Sales to Growth in First Quarter of 2013
• 5/14 Gartner Identifies Five Actions for Enterprise Architects to Harness the Disruption of Consumerization
• 5/14 iSuppli: Small Cells with Wi-Fi Set to Reshape Wireless Communications Market
• 5/13 Frontline Sentinel: How Facebook Updates Would Look in Real Life [Funny]
• 5/13 Gartner Says Project and Portfolio Management Software Market Grew 11 Percent in 2012
• 5/13 Gartner Says India IT Infrastructure Spending Will Reach $2.3 Billion By 2014
• 5/13 What to Expect at Google I/O
• 5/13 iSuppli: EU Antidumping Duties to Price Chinese Modules out of the European Market
• 5/13 iSuppli: Combo MEMS Inertial Sensors Motor Their Way to Brisk Growth in the Automotive Market
• 5/12 Frontline Sentinel: Two-Factor Authentication for Social Media Sites
• 5/10 McAfee Blogs: RealTime for ePO – Optimized Endpoint Security
• 5/10 iSuppli: Intel VP to Discuss Low-Cost Computing Initiative at IHS/SID 2013 Business Conference Keynote
• 5/10 Ovum: Ovum comments: GB smart meter delay better late than never
• 5/10 Gartner Says India Has The Potential To Lead The World In The Nexus Of Social, Mobile, Cloud And Information But May Waste The Opportunity
• 5/9 Frontline Sentinel: NSA's Manual on Hacking the Internet
• 5/9 iSuppli: Dimming PC Prospects Spur Inventory Reduction in Computer Supply Chain
• 5/9 iSuppli: At SID 2013: The Human Visual Interface as Key to Innovation in High-Performance Displays
• 5/9 Frontline Sentinel: 8 charged in $45 million cybertheft bank heist
• 5/9 Gartner Highlights Three Key Foundational Elements for Demand-Driven Retail Success
• 5/9 iSuppli: Korean and American Versions of Galaxy S4 as Different as Kimchee and Coleslaw, IHS Teardown Reveals