Executive Viewpoint 2015 Prediction: Ciena – SDN and NFV Will Become Real
There’s no question about it, software defined networking (SDN) and Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) have arrived. As customers want more on-demand services from their applications and organizations increasingly seek the cost savings and convenience of virtualization and cloud networking, SDN and NFV are critical to realizing these benefits.
The evolution to SDN means that network operators can provision for sudden spikes in bandwidth demand. It can borrow unused capacity from other areas and “lend” it to the areas in need of extra bandwidth. In addition, it can predict these spikes ahead of time, for example, during peak hour traffic.
This on-demand network capability is led largely by the proliferation of on-demand applications and the evolution of enterprise IT to “as a service” and cloud delivery. With on-demand networks, enterprises no longer need to establish network connectivity, circuit by circuit, or worry about investing in unused bandwidth to handle spikes in data or changes in traffic patterns. Instead, on-demand virtual network capabilities allow network operators to quickly provision high-speed, high-capacity network resources whenever they need them.
Whether an enterprise runs its own data center to support its private cloud implementations (and thus needs the ability to program network resources) or looks to a service provider to connect it to the public cloud (therefore requiring capacity on-demand to handle bandwidth-intensive data transmission), SDN and NFV will be critical underlying factors in the creation of programmable networks that will support the enterprises of the future. In 2015, on-demand capability will see early implementations.
For new companies entering the market, it will be possible to run a viable business without owning a single piece of infrastructure – instead, they can rely on cloud services, which are made infinitely more flexible with software-defined networking and on-demand delivery of virtual network functions such as WAN optimization and encryption. Growing businesses will be able to tap these same services to increase operational scale and function, with reduced operating expense and pain.
Other trends to keep an eye out for in the networking industry of 2015 include:
The Blurring of Enterprise and Consumer Apps
The “consumerization” of IT will continue in earnest, and it will become harder than ever to differentiate between a consumer app and an enterprise app, at least in terms of mode of consumption. The push for “device ubiquity” and self-selection will accelerate this process as consumers want their personal devices to be capable of the functions they need to accomplish their work, and for their work devices to become more accessible and connected to their personal ones.
Growth of Gigabit Networking
Networks will need to provide greater capacity in order to support increasing consumption of video across multiple devices, the increasing digitization of business functions and increased reliance on cloud computing in business environments, among other drivers. Thus, we expect to see a continued push for more robust network deployments, buoyed by government urging and growth of Google Fiber.
The future will be defined by all that we are able to create and utilize—faster, smarter data services, increased demand for on-demand applications and functions, ubiquitous access to fast networking—but it needs a foundation first. In 2015, SDN and NFV will see early implementation, and then organizations will start building on that foundation.