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.
How Enterprises Are Attacking the IT Security EnterpriseTo learn more about what organizations are doing to tackle attacks and threats we surveyed a group of 300 IT and infosec professionals to find out what their biggest IT security challenges are and what they're doing to defend against today's threats. Download the report to see what they're saying.
IT Strategies to Conquer the CloudChances are your organization is adopting cloud computing in one way or another -- or in multiple ways. Understanding the skills you need and how cloud affects IT operations and networking will help you adapt.