SDN closes agility gap through performance on demand: Ciena

Latest technology trends like mobility, server virtualization, cloud computing, and a growing need to rapidly respond to changing business conditions cause enterprise networks to evolve to new architecture like Software Defined Networks (SDNs) that can accommodate the new demands.

SDNs, with their logically centralized control and open APIs, addresses the latest network demands by delivering a dynamic network architecture that provides flexibility at scale, while streamlining operations, resulting in significant costs savings.

Worldwide SDN adoption is growing at a new level. As per the recent report from IDC, SDN market will reach $3.7 billion by 2016.

Despite this, hardware will continue to play a significant role n the network infrastructure, the report said.

In August 2013, Ovum published a report stating that by 2018, 46 percent of overall datacenter network spending will be on SDN-enabled optical, switching and routing hardware while a slightly higher number – 49 percent – will be spent on non-SDN-enabled datacenter optical switching and routing.

Mr. Ryan Perera, Country Head, Ciena
Ryan Perera,Country Head, Ciena

According to Ryan Perera, country head, Ciena, SDN provides a number of benefits because it adds programmability into the network, creating application-driven performance-on-demand.

After a recent SDN implementation from Ciena, Equinix, a leading data center and internet exchange provider, explained its impact saying the agility of multilayer SDN allows them to turn up new fast lane connections even more quickly and at lower costs.

Ihab Tarazi, chief technology officer at Equinix, said the network allows them to offer customers a dynamic and automated interface to the hundreds of network and cloud service providers inside our data centers and meet their needs for next-generation connectivity solutions.

Ciena has been a major contributor in SDN evolution since their involvement in the Stanford Clean Slate program in 2009 and their subsequent creation of the OPn SDN test-bed. Through active participation in Open Networking Foundation (ONF) and the OpenDaylight project, among other industry consortia, the company continues its contribution in SDN and related projects.

The open network, according to Perera, offers double benefits to customers. It helps them realize the top-line benefits of rapid, new service creation and the bottom-line benefits of streamlined operations and competition-contained vendor pricing, then need to escape from vendor lock-in.

As part of its SDN initiative, Ciena recently introduced its Agility software portfolio, which enables the delivery of on-demand network services and functions from a virtualized pool of photonic, OTN, packet and server resources with greater efficiency and performance than ever before possible.

SDN is gaining popularity in datacenter space, Perera added. Early adoption is also occurring with a few carriers and smaller content service providers, and beginning in the enterprise. Service providers will initially apply SDN to support the cloud backbone – connecting provider data centers together.

For smaller service providers, SDN opens a path to provide dynamic metro and regional networks, for NaaS and to connect enterprise data centers to partner cloud providers. They may also leverage SDN in the wireless backhaul network.

Major challenges that service providers face today is the fact that it takes at least 18 months to roll out a new network service and 60 days to turn up a new customer for such a service. These challenges – due to rigid networks with siloed management among different layers, vendors, domains – result in agility gap.

Telecom companies looking for SDN should look for carrier-grade solutions with multi-layer functionality. It should address the entire architecture, not just the data center, and not just the packet layers of their WAN, according to Ciena.

SDN, and Ciena’s Agility software portfolio, frees network control from the constraints of legacy embedded protocols and places it in the hands of logically centralized software, Perera said.  Common, logically centralized control with open, standard interfaces to applications above and the infrastructure below, enable service-delivery to become less manual and piecemeal and more automated and orchestrated, resulting in accelerated time-to-market and revenues, and the ability for carriers to scale their network, services and revenues with diminishing per-unit costs.

In India, SDN solutions are gaining acceptance among mid to large enterprise customers.

Subhasish Gupta, country manager – India & SAARC at Allied Telesis, a provider of network infrastructure solutions, says a large number of customers in India have started adopting and deploying SDN  for their networks. The company has signed customers like NIT-Raipur, BNMPL-Mysore, Mandoli Jail, Chandigarh Airport, Tata power, Univ of Hyderabad, Woksen Business School among others recently.

Rajani Baburajan

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