Infrastructure // Networking
News
10/2/2013
01:16 PM
Connect Directly
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%
Repost This

SDN Under-Hyped, Says Ciena

SDN solves the scale problem for future networks, Ciena CTO tells Interop crowd.

Networks need to be as flexible and on-demand as computing power and storage are today, Ciena CTO Steve Alexander told the Interop keynote crowd here Wednesday, and that will mean a major transformation through software-defined networking (SDN).

Calling SDN "under-hyped," Alexander said the public network must become more dynamic, more flexible, and more real-time, and those things will require a major change in how networks are built. Today's networks expand by adding more boxes, but that model won't meet the scale required for future networks, he said.

While coherent optics have allowed the telecom industry to deliver massive amounts of bandwidth, that bandwidth today isn't available where and when it's needed, the Ciena Corp. CTO said, and that limits its usefulness.

Alexander described a network of multi-function boxes -- but not "God" boxes, he cautioned -- that are virtualized machines living in a content center, not a central office or a data center, that can connect consumers to their content and applications via well-defined open interfaces. Such a network would have the ability to treat network traffic depending on its requirements while protecting itself from being overloaded or congested.

Openness will be a major requirement of the next generation of networks, Alexander said, admitting that there still isn't a single view of what "open" will mean, however. (See Ciena's Alexander: The Future's Open.)

He cautioned that industry inertia, and the "loud voices" who fight change and protect legacy approaches could threaten the rollout of SDN and the ability to keep networks truly open. But Alexander closed by predicting that those involved in this change today will one day look back in amazement at how truly transformational SDN became.

Read the rest of this article on Light Reading.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
2014 Private Cloud Survey
2014 Private Cloud Survey
Respondents are on a roll: 53% brought their private clouds from concept to production in less than one year, and 60% ­extend their clouds across multiple datacenters. But expertise is scarce, with 51% saying acquiring skilled employees is a roadblock.
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Audio Interviews
Archived Audio Interviews
GE is a leader in combining connected devices and advanced analytics in pursuit of practical goals like less downtime, lower operating costs, and higher throughput. At GIO Power & Water, CIO Jim Fowler is part of the team exploring how to apply these techniques to some of the world's essential infrastructure, from power plants to water treatment systems. Join us, and bring your questions, as we talk about what's ahead.