Carrier NFV Infrastructure NEWS

SDN & NFV: Revolutionary Technology to Completely Change Traditional Networking and Data Center Infrastructure

By Special Guest
Dhaval Kate, Assistant Manager, ICT, MarketsandMarkets
September 16, 2015

SDN is an emerging networking architecture which is set to entirely revolutionize the existing networking and data center infrastructure. Along with the innovative idea of NFV, the control plane is decoupled from the data plane, with the provision for a separate controlling application platform with capabilities of policy making and providing network intelligence. This programmable network interface provides a valuable capability for organizations, especially as they prepare for big data, surging video traffic, cloud computing and BYOD environments. Over the next few years, many organizations across diverse domains will be investing in SDN and NFV technologies to address the rising demand for secure and robust network architecture that is capable to handle expanding data traffic, with the addition of minimal physical infrastructure and capital expenditure.

According to MarketsandMarkets, both solution and service providers play a major role in the market ecosystem, wherein the SDN and NFV solution comprises; two-thirds of the overall market share in 2015. Contrary to the traditional client-server architecture, where transactions were between a single client and a server, in present scenario, revolutionized applications access, multiple servers and databases, creating a flurry of machine-to-machine traffic like never before, thereby altering conventional traffic patterns.

Enterprise data centers are contemplating hybrid computing models, which include public cloud, private cloud, or a mix of both, thereby resulting in additional traffic across the network. At the same time, the constant push for mobility is making users change network traffic patterns as they attempt to access corporate content and applications from different mobile devices, at any time.

Despite the fact that different types of service providers are striving to combat these challenges, operators are in a dire need to eliminate redundant links and layers in the network, thereby driving the need for a more scalable and robust network ecosystem for seamless traffic flows. These novel technologies have picked up significant market traction in the last two years, enabling telecom and cloud providers an efficient control of the network infrastructure, thereby easing network traffic and subsequently reducing operational costs significantly. While the SDN and NFV market is presently at a fragmented phase, industry consolidation is expected to occur in the near future, thereby ensuring improved adoption.

Additionally, the rapid surge in the number of mobile devices, mobile content, and the advent of cloud services are the key factors driving the networking world toward server virtualization. Such developments in the networking environment have fueled the need to re-examine traditional network architectures. Most conventional networks follow a hierarchical topology, with multiple tiers of Ethernet switches configured in a tree structure. Since traditional networks are predominantly suited to client server-based computing environs, such architecture is ill-suited to the dynamic storage and computational needs of the present day carrier and cloud environments, thereby making traditional networks non-scalable to the new-age technology advancements.

SDN adopters have implemented the concept with two distinct approaches, each suitable for different markets and applications. OpenFlow, primarily supported by the Open Networking Foundation (ONF), removes the entire control plane from the network equipment and is mostly preferred by closed environments such as data centers. On the other hand, Path Computation Element (PCE), standardized by the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), migrates only the path computation component of networking devices to a centralized role and is mostly preferred by carrier providers.

According to MarketsandMarkets analysis, cloud and telecom service providers are embracing SDN in a big way to compete with incumbent network service providers who plan to improvise their infrastructure using this innovative technology, while networking start-ups are developing a wide range of products for data centers, service providers, and enterprises. Telecommunication providers have been looking for ways to optimize costs and increase network efficiency over the last decade. At the same time, the industry has been also witnessing a demand for newer forms of networking that are faster, simpler, and easier to manage.

MarketsandMarkets also found that software defined storage platforms are expected to generate enormous interest among end users, resolving the increasing pressure on existing data centers and expanding the data center capacity with minimal capital expenditure. SDN application platforms and controllers are projected to form the core of SDN and NFV solution offerings, which allows monitoring and control of data traffic from a centralized location. Thus, SDN and NFV solutions have emerged as a first of its kind networking concept and has picked up substantial market traction, resulting in significant cost savings for end users that can be utilized to drive core business goals.

While the SDN and NFV market is presently at a nascent fragmented stage, industry consolidation is expected to occur in the near future, driving better adoption with concentrated messaging in enterprises. The market for SDN is likely to evolve gradually from being a standards-driven one to becoming a function of software development, over next 5 years SDN will ultimately revolutionize network utilization and will be a highly pervasive, ubiquitous across telecom networks, and penetrating into enterprise networks. The factors which are forcing the market are network expansion, telco operating expenditure (OPEX) savings, and mobility, which are likely to positively impact the SDN market. At the same time, opportunities in controller applications and Value-Added Reseller (VAR) products are expected to benefit the growth in this market




Edited by Stefania Viscusi


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