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Gartner: SDN, NFV Create New Security, OSS Requirements

By Paula Bernier October 10, 2013

The holistic control of SDN and the elasticity of NFV hold great promise for service providers, but in exploring and adopting these important new technologies, they should be aware of potential security and support system issues. These words of cautious encouragement come courtesy of research firm Gartner, which recently put out a study on software-defined networking and network functions virtualization.

Gartner says the dynamic nature of networking SDN and NFV enable will require service providers to up their game in terms of security. They can do that, according to Gartner, by investing in deep packet inspection and SDN analytic tools that monitor traffic, diagnose threats and mitigate security challenges. At the same time, the research firm suggests, network operators must be sure to manage and monitor security controller access to see who is logging in when and for what purpose.

As for billing and operational support systems, Gartner recommends that service providers invest in new ones that support SDN orchestration and provisioning, policy-based control with security functions, and real-time control and billing.

This all sounds like a lot of work and expense, and it probably will be, but Gartner indicates that new business models from vendors may make it more palatable for the network operators. And it says these new approaches to networking, and all that goes along with them, will set service providers – which are now grappling with how to effectively compete with over-the-top players – on a new path to success.

“SDN with NFV offers a way for CSPs to break out of their established, inflexible business models,” according to the Gartner study. “With SDN's control and NFV's flexibility, CSPs can develop business models that are based on tiered services, elastic services like security-as-a-service using DPI functions on-demand or more applications on demand, such as unified communications as a service and video. Additionally, a new procurement option may also arise, allowing CSPs to pay network equipment providers on a per-use basis for network functions as needed, as opposed to capital expenditure tied to under-utilized equipment.”

Edited by Alisen Downey

Executive Editor, TMC

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