Looking Back and Ahead, Commercial SDN/NFV Offers Hit Full Steam in 2015

B. Washburn
B. Washburn

Summary Bullets:

  • 2015 was a big year for more operators making more SDN/NFV-enabled services available, reaching more places.
  • SDN and NFV promise efficiencies of virtualization and dynamic bandwidth, but the technologies provide many ancillary benefits as well.

For companies interested in dynamic networks and network virtualization, 2015 was a banner year. While network function virtualization (NFV)-powered services had already begun gaining ground (just two examples are NTT Com and CenturyLink), dynamic bandwidth provisioning was still limited. Verizon (with Dynamic Bandwidth for Private IP), Level 3 (with former tw telecom’s Adaptive Network Control) and Masergy (with Intelligent Service Control) were established competitors. AT&T had just begun introducing its SDN-powered Network on Demand service in its local service footprint. Telstra’s PEN remained an Asia-region network. Continue reading “Looking Back and Ahead, Commercial SDN/NFV Offers Hit Full Steam in 2015”

Coming Sooner or Later: The First Fully Virtualized Global Carrier

Brian Washburn
Brian Washburn

Summary Bullets:

  • Can a startup build global WAN facilities using nothing but the cloud? It may be impractical, but economics are trending toward possible.
  • Despite serious roadblocks today, the idea of sourcing/scaling facilities on-demand, and using them on a pay-as-you-use basis, seems tempting.

As a thought exercise, imagine what network function virtualization (NFV) will look like when the technology reaches its theoretical end state. Instead of switch/routers running on purpose-built hardware, the routing function could run entirely on software in virtual machines. These virtual machines in turn run on generic high-performance computing platforms located in large regional data centers and strategically distributed worldwide. What’s more, those large regional data centers happen to have plenty of competitive fiber linking them. That means plenty of carrier competitors to offer commodity priced, flexible high-performance switched Ethernet connectivity between sites. The result is a completely virtual global WAN operator, one that can ramp up and tear down both router horsepower and corresponding capacity, based on customer need. There would be no networking sunk costs – the primary investment would be in orchestration software, and in operations support/billing systems. Continue reading “Coming Sooner or Later: The First Fully Virtualized Global Carrier”

The Impact on Your IT Department of Software Defined Networking (SDN) and Network Functions Virtualization (NFV)

Joel Stradling
Joel Stradling

Summary Bullets:

  • NFV will dramatically reduce the number of expensive hardware appliances that carriers and large enterprises need to deploy throughout the data centre and network
  • Instead of so many hardware boxes, networks will be able to deploy cheap-as-dirt high volume server infrastructure with VMs running on top to replace all those functions previously occupied by hardware
  • SDN promises control of the network fabric with more of this control extending to the enterprise in due course

SDN and NFV are garnering attention in the industry with exciting benefits being promised to consumers of network and IT services. The longer term view of NFV is that VMs running network applications on mass-market low cost server infrastructure will replace expensive dedicated appliances. The implication of this for owners of extensive network and data centre infrastructure is ultimately far lower costs, since adding VMs on servers means procuring cheap-as-mud standard servers as opposed to far more expensive dedicated equipment such as switches, routers, deep packet inspection boxes, firewalls and session border controllers. Moreover the amount of technical and engineering support required to manage significantly virtualized network components such as  CDN, carrier grade NAT, and other services, is far less because provisioning and on-going management is automated and managed by customers is supplied using a client facing dashboard. This is a futuristic view, and we anticipate such possibilities from 2014 and beyond.  Continue reading “The Impact on Your IT Department of Software Defined Networking (SDN) and Network Functions Virtualization (NFV)”