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SDN is Redefining Our Networks

By Swift Liu, President of the Enterprise Networking Product Line, Huawei Enterprise Business Group

● SDN – A Revolution Driven by and Responding to Customer Needs

In data centers, SDN solves multi-tenancy problems created by frequent and rapid virtual machine migrations.

In wide area networks, SDN increases bandwidth utilization and resolves challenges that traditional routing algorithms cannot match. In campus networks, SDN is inevitable thanks to increasing wide-area wireless coverage, mobile office, and Bring Your Own Device (BYOD).

The management of security and QoS policies is expected to migrate to SDN in a similar way to how virtual machines are deployed in data centers.

● SDN – An Opportunity to Transfer Value and Disrupt Traditional Industry Supply Chains

SDN is turning ICT convergence into reality by further blurring the line between Communications Technology (CT) and Information Technology (IT).

It will take time to determine if SDN will extend the value of network equipment, or transfer value from network equipment to upper-layer applications. All but certain is that value will be transferred from Operating Expenditures (OPEX) to Capital Expenditures (CAPEX), and this move will drive down the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO).

SDN is creating opportunity through the supply chain of network equipment vendors, component manufacturers, and traditional IT equipment providers.

● SDN – Changing Networks from Open Horizontally to Open Vertically, from Protocol-Driven to Programmable

Traditional networks are open horizontally using standardized protocols, so neighboring Network Elements (NEs) connect seamlessly. Computers are open and standardized both horizontally and vertically, from bottom-level chips and components, drives, operating systems, and programming platforms, to top-level applications. These levels of horizontal and vertical integration make it easy for programmers to develop computer applications.

Compared with computers, networks are relatively closed and shapeless vertically, making it difficult to develop and deploy network-wide applications and services.

SDN makes the entire network open and programmable, both horizontally and vertically. These changes translate into higher accessibility and provide for more efficient utilization of network resources.

● SDN – A New Challenge to Network Equipment

The separation of forwarding from control as the defining feature of SDN networks first emerged more than a decade ago.

Today, owing to a combination of continuing technical transformations and the need to protect customer investments, programmability is necessary on both the control and forwarding planes.

Specifically on the forwarding plane of switch equipment, SDN is accelerating the replacement of traditional Application-Specific Integrated Circuits (ASICs) with fully programmable components. As SDN continues to evolve, programmable network components will continue to adapt.

With SDN, we redefine our networks! With SDN, we are building a brand new world!

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