SDN Definitions May Vary, But Things Are Moving Forward

By Paula Bernier November 19, 2013

Nailing down precise definitions for new technologies is often a tricky practice, as different companies like to come at rising architectures from their own vantage points and describe them using their own vocabularies. Such is the case with SDN.

SDN consists of three layers, according to a recent Information Week article: the application layer, which includes applications that deliver services, such as switch/network virtualization, firewalls, and flow balancers; the physical network layer, which is at the bottom; and the SDN controller, which removes the control plane from the network hardware and runs it as software, but must integrate with all the physical and virtual devices in the network. The OpenFlow protocol is also part of some software and/or equipment companies’ SDN solutions.

The end goal, of course, is to make networks more flexible, manageable, scalable and secure. And the market seems ready to embrace this new, if somewhat still foggy, view of networking.

Transparency Market Research expects the global SDN market to be worth $3.52 billion by 2018, as the piece mentioned above notes. And as previously reported by TMC’s NFVZONE, SNS Research in a new study estimates that SDN and network functions virtualization will be worth a whopping $4 billion next year alone. SNS Research expects to see compound annual growth of nearly 60 percent in this space over the next 6 years.

But to get there, carriers and other data center operators have to negotiate the maze of SDN options and figure out how the pieces fit together. Indeed, as TMC’s SDNZone reported late last month, Frost & Sullivan believes that for SDN to reach its full potential, the industry needs to agree on a set of protocols and standards so that we’re all moving in roughly the same direction.

"The potential of SDN can be realized only when research organizations form consortiums and consolidate knowledge to develop various aspects of this nascent technology," said Sathya Vendhan, a Frost & Sullivan technical insights research analyst.

The good news, as NFVZone has reported, is that work around SDN interoperability and cooperation is already under way by such groups as ETSI, the Open Networking User Group, the Open Networking Foundation, OpenDaylight and various collaborations between tech companies and academic and research organizations.



Edited by Cassandra Tucker





Executive Editor, TMC

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