Cisco: Customers Are Finding More Agility and Flexibility in SDN

By Tracey E. Schelmetic March 12, 2014

As networking and telecommunications companies today scramble for market share and ways to increase their profit margins, they have begun listening to their customers more so they can provide them with what they really want.

At the ITEXPO event held recently in Miami, TMC’s Erik Linask sat down with Vimal Suba, product manager at Cisco Systems Inc. to talk about the state of the industry and Cisco’s business. Linask noted that the increasing emphasis on software and software defined networking (SDN) is changing the nature of telecom and networking today.

Suba noted that customers today are looking for more agility in the solutions they purchase.

“It’s not about lower cost, by itself,” said Suba. “It’s about ‘how do we rearchitect our software, our products’ so at the end of the day, they get some kind of power in terms of making changes to their environment. That’s the whole notion around agility and programmability and openness that comes with SDN.”

Customers are increasingly looking for choice based on their unique requirements, with an eye toward personalizing services and avoiding a “one size fits all” approach. Increasingly, they are leveraging SDN as a way as a revolutionary way to make their infrastructure more agile. The industry still has a long way to go here, however, as research has found that only 14 percent of enterprises have already deployed SDN, with 15 percent planning on deploying it this year. Only one third of organizations have even considered deploying it.

“A majority of organizations haven’t stepped in,” observed Suba. “There is a lot of myth out in the market from a technology standpoint. That’s natural. With any new technology there’s going to be a cycle. There are a lot of expectations among customers about what SDN can and cannot do. So until those myths get busted and [companies learn] what SDN can provide them, we won’t see a big adoption.”

Suba said it behooves technology companies to provide guidance to customers about SDN, and help them move from questions about “what” and “why” to “how.” Cisco recommends it customers start small and approach SDN as an evolutionary process. Customers can take an experimental process by starting small and evaluating how SDN can help them and what makes sense for them. This will start to boost market confidence. As with any new technology, the earliest adopters will ultimately provide a guide book for companies looking to follow.

Edited by Alisen Downey

NFVZone Contributor

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