Networking industry participants are increasingly turning to programmable software-defined network (SDN) technology, according to Infonetics Research, suggesting that recent industry focus on this area is not just hype. SDN is a new approach to routing equipment that makes the control plane remotely accessible and remotely modifiable via third-party software clients.
But although poised to rise, “most of these SDN technologies don’t exist yet or are, at best, ill-defined,” commented Infonetics co-founder and principal analyst for carrier networks Michael Howard.
Infonetics interviewed “purchase-decision makers at 21 incumbent, independent wireless, and competitive operators from around the world with carrier Ethernet switches (CES) and IP edge routers in their data network” in carrying out research for its new “SDN, 40G/100G, and MPLS Control Plane Strategies: Global Service Provider Survey” report. Operators were asked specifically about their “deployment plans for 40G and 100G interfaces on routers or CES, the reasons they’re considering SDNs and programmable networks, and the roles of Ethernet, IP/MPLS, and MPLS-TP and other protocols on their data networks.”
Simplification of network provisioning was the most-often cited reason for respondents considering deployment of SDNs and programmable networks. “Creating network services not possible with existing technologies or protocols” ranked second, followed by “creating virtual networks across multivendor equipment.”
“The networking industry is riding up the hockey stick curve of hype based on the hopes of new software-defined network (SDN)/programmable network technologies,” Howard noted. “And while many uncertainties surround SDNs due to their newness, our survey confirms that the programmable network movement is real, with a good majority of service providers worldwide considering or planning purchases of SDN technologies to simplify network provisioning and to create services and virtual networks in ways not previously possible.”
Highlights of Infonetics’ SDNs, 40G/100G and MPLS survey include:
- OpenFlow is the most developed programmable network initiative, and 80% of survey respondents are including it in their purchase considerations
- 95% of service providers surveyed plan to deploy 100GE interfaces; most will not use 40GE
- IP/MPLS (with control plane) is much more popular than MPLS-TP among surveyed service providers