Java IoT Authors: Hollis Tibbetts, Elizabeth White, Carmen Gonzalez, Liz McMillan, Sematext Blog

Related Topics: SDN Journal, Java IoT, Microservices Expo, Containers Expo Blog, @CloudExpo, @BigDataExpo

SDN Journal: Article

Software-Defined Networking: The Promise and the Reality

Building simpler networks that, with the help of virtualization, are more intelligent and cost-effective

The enterprise is increasingly resorting to cloud services for many applications ranging from efficient application hosting or low-cost backup and archiving to cloud data centers. Typically, enterprise networks are interconnected to the Cloud over low speed IP networks that are limited in capacity and flexibility.

Over the next few years, however, enterprises will leverage the cloud for larger amounts of storage as they adopt Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) and Platform as a Service (PaaS). This in turn compels the need for a more flexible and intelligent network capable of dynamically responding to rapidly changing IT demands, without bottlenecks, security vulnerabilities or data loss.

The impact of the cloud necessitates that Enterprise IT provide more focus on server-server connectivity rather than primarily supporting client-server interactions. This shift will also affect major service providers who must evolve their networks and corresponding business models to address the cloud, including significantly more rapid provisioning, multi-tenant, elastic network bandwidth, and far lower costs per bit than capable today. These are the primary drivers behind the emergence of Software-Defined Networks.

While there are a number of hurdles to wide-spread adoption, SDN is already emerging as a viable approach for the cloud. In fact, IDC predicts the SDN market for Worldwide Enterprise/Cloud Service Providers will grow from about $360 million in revenue in 2013 to $3.7 billion by 2016, a staggering increase of more than 900 percent in just three years.

What Is Driving SDN?
There are a number of drivers for SDN, including the exponential growth in mobile broadband, cloud computing and on-demand service delivery requirements.

There's no denying that consumers and businesspeople around the globe are increasingly relying upon smartphones, tablets, and notebooks. CTIA's recent semi-annual wireless industry survey reports that the continued growth of LTE networks and corresponding strong sales for smartphones in the US have led to mobile broadband usage more than doubling over the last year. In fact, the most recent CTIA data shows that US carriers handled 1.16 trillion megabytes of data between July 2011 and June 2012, up 104 percent from the 568 billion megabytes used between July 2010 and June 2011.

Among the fasting growing applications is mobile video. According to the Gartner Market Trends: Worldwide, the State of Mobile Video, 2012 report, the size of the worldwide mobile video market was comprised of 429 million mobile video users in 2011 and is projected to grow exponentially to 2.4 billion users by 2016. Smartphones and tablet sales will contribute 440 million new mobile video users during the forecast period.

Cloud computing is also driving the need for SDN. Gartner projects the growth in public cloud services to almost double from $110B in 2012 to $210 by 2016. Such growth is accelerated by technology advancements increasing the Virtual Machine Density, and rapid migration to 10, 40 and 100G Ethernet in the Data Center. Such change enables IT to stay in front of the cost curve, as network demands far outpace the growth in their budgets.

What Is SDN Exactly?
Software-Defined Networking or SDN is one of the most exciting developments in our industry today. It has the potential to unlock innovation and upgrade network efficiencies. To put it in a nutshell, SDN is an emerging networking architecture that allows for the decoupling of the network control layer from the data transport layer. The architecture then becomes dynamic, adaptable, manageable and cost-effective.

SDN is characterized by:

  1. Programmable control of the network through open APIs that enable IT and network operators alike to tailor the behavior of the network to their individual environments.
  2. Centralized Intelligence, where network control is provided across multiple network elements through an open interface, as opposed to today's autonomous system model where control is provided by each individual network element.
  3. Abstraction, where underlying details of the lower layers are masked from the upper layers. For instance, applications may request services independent of the type of transport. Furthermore, a common set of control software can run across multiple forwarding plane chipsets/implementations.

SDN architectures facilitate network automation, virtualization, and policy management, which are essential in supporting the inherently dynamic and unpredictable networking demands by businesses and consumers alike.

SDN for Service Providers
For service providers, SDN provides a more agile and intelligent network that can be programmed to allocate bandwidth from a shared pool of resources where and when capacity is needed. Figure 1 depicts the SDN Architecture, which consists of:

  • Application Layer: Where the service creation/delivery/assurance software resides, including cloud orchestration software
  • Control Layer: Where the network software (referred to as Network Services Modules) reside that provide intelligent network control
  • Infrastructure Layer: Where the transport and switching elements reside that provide network forwarding

Figure 1: Software Defined Networking Functional Architecture

In this architecture, SDN leverages a centralized controller that acts as the "brains" of the network and oversees and supervises the entire network and instructs the switches how to create new paths to handle different flows as needed.

An SDN-enabled service provider packet network can also be made more reliable and stable through globally computed, deterministic restoration graphs. Global network control combined with real-time analytics means higher service quality with fewer resources. Bottom line - this improves the user experience and decreases costs.

SDN in the Enterprise
SDN will also simplify network operations and management for the enterprise. Both Gartner and IDC predict that the crossover point, where more than 50% of x86 server workloads are virtualized, to occur over the next year. As private cloud deployments grow, networks must be automated to integrate with the cloud orchestration/operating systems. SDN makes it easier to transition to a secure, virtualized, multi-tenant network required for the cloud.

In addition, enterprises are coping with rising bandwidth demands from video applications, especially teleconferencing and distance learning. Mobility (especially BYOD) poses new access control and security challenges. SDN architectures offer the flexibility, bandwidth elasticity, and intelligent control to redefine the capability vs. complexity tradeoff that was previously unmanageable.

SDN can close the gap between compute and the data domains, which will allow network administrators to analyze massive data sets faster and more efficiently. In turn, this improves network capacity efficiency and operations automation, while also helping to increase revenue potential and service innovation. SDN will help IT managers to significantly improve the operations of their networks and allow them to tailor their network to specific applications and IT requirements.

IT leaders can use SDN as a tool to help transform their business. For example: enterprises can foster closer relationships by offering customers greater online access to select data over the enterprise network. For instance, a financial services firm can enable large corporate customers the opportunity for third-party reporting, governance, or even analytics firms to directly access enterprise credit card information, obviating the need for intermediate sites, manual process steps, etc., that are needed to provide sufficient isolation. An SDN would create virtual network partitions governed by stringent and limited access policies and security to minimize unauthorized access.

By providing direct access via the enterprise network, users are afforded a more responsive and current user experience, while simplifying network access and reducing costs.

Where We're at with SDN Today
Trends such as mobility, server virtualization, cloud computing, and the need to rapidly respond to changing business conditions place significant demands on the network - demands that today's conventional network architectures were not designed to support. SDN promises to provide a new, dynamic network architecture that transforms traditional network backbones into more intelligent service-delivery platforms.

While SDN adoption is at an early stage, it will take time before SDN predominates. Server, storage and other network infrastructure vendors are just beginning to implement SDN enablers such as OpenFlow into their product lines. We anticipate that wide-scale product availability will not come over the next few years. Additionally, organizations like the Open Networking Forum (ONF) are working aggressively to develop and standardize SDN architecture and practices, as well as the OpenFlow interface.

Carriers are in the earliest stages of SDN adoption. But, SDN is not necessarily new. For example, one of Ciena's largest service provider customers maintains that its Ciena CoreDirector-based mesh optical network is, in fact, an example of a software-defined network, which has been operational for many years. It is also important to note that in the enterprise, SDN is poised to happen in the data center first.

Early movers such as Google, which built G-Scale, a massive SDN effort, offer plenty of inspiration. G-Scale includes Google-built routers and switches embedded with the OpenFlow protocol, which can be programmed to automatically create and reconfigure connections between its data centers located all over the world for maximum resource efficiency. According to Google, this has helped to dramatically improve network utilization and substantially reduce overall costs.

Based on efforts such as Google's and others, there is no doubt that SDN will be critical in helping enterprises and service providers build simpler networks that, with the help of virtualization, are more intelligent and cost-effective.

More Stories By Marc Cohn

Marc Cohn is a Senior Director of Market Development at Ciena Corporation, where he is focused on Ciena’s strategy for Software Defined Networking (SDN). He is also the Vice-Chair of the Market Education committee for the Open Networking Foundation (ONF).

For over 20 years, Marc has drove and promoted successful communications products for systems, software, semiconductor, and services firms serving the Data Communications and Telecommunications markets. Prior to joining Ciena, he held senior marketing and product management roles with IP Infusion, Micrel, Amdocs, Lucent Technologies, Alidian Networks, and International Network Services.

Marc earned a MS EE degree from the University of Southern California where he was a Hughes Fellow, a BS EE degree in Electrical Engineering and was the first Computer Engineering graduate from the University of Missouri.

Comments (1) View Comments

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.

Most Recent Comments
Michael Bushong 08/01/13 12:44:00 PM EDT

This is a solid writeup. When one technology trend hits, it is interesting. But we have three or four that are all landing (arguably all in support of cloud, yet another trend). With SDN, Big Data (analytics to drive some of the intelligence in SDN), DevOps (the programmatic glue that stitches it all together), and even things like photonic switching, we could be seeing a massive upheaval - the kind of once-in-a-generation change that leaves the landscape forever different.

With all of this change, I suspect that buyers will need to more aggressively take action. This requires a different type of leader - more change management than technology procurement. It will be interesting to see how this plays out and where adoption moves quickly and where it stalls.

-Mike Bushong (@mbushong)

@ThingsExpo Stories
You think you know what’s in your data. But do you? Most organizations are now aware of the business intelligence represented by their data. Data science stands to take this to a level you never thought of – literally. The techniques of data science, when used with the capabilities of Big Data technologies, can make connections you had not yet imagined, helping you discover new insights and ask new questions of your data. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Sarbjit Sarkaria, data science team lead ...
A completely new computing platform is on the horizon. They’re called Microservers by some, ARM Servers by others, and sometimes even ARM-based Servers. No matter what you call them, Microservers will have a huge impact on the data center and on server computing in general. Although few people are familiar with Microservers today, their impact will be felt very soon. This is a new category of computing platform that is available today and is predicted to have triple-digit growth rates for some ...
In past @ThingsExpo presentations, Joseph di Paolantonio has explored how various Internet of Things (IoT) and data management and analytics (DMA) solution spaces will come together as sensor analytics ecosystems. This year, in his session at @ThingsExpo, Joseph di Paolantonio from DataArchon, will be adding the numerous Transportation areas, from autonomous vehicles to “Uber for containers.” While IoT data in any one area of Transportation will have a huge impact in that area, combining sensor...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Transparent Cloud Computing (T-Cloud) Consortium will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. The Transparent Cloud Computing Consortium (T-Cloud Consortium) will conduct research activities into changes in the computing model as a result of collaboration between "device" and "cloud" and the creation of new value and markets through organic data proces...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Niagara Networks will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Niagara Networks offers the highest port-density systems, and the most complete Next-Generation Network Visibility systems including Network Packet Brokers, Bypass Switches, and Network TAPs.
In today's uber-connected, consumer-centric, cloud-enabled, insights-driven, multi-device, global world, the focus of solutions has shifted from the product that is sold to the person who is buying the product or service. Enterprises have rebranded their business around the consumers of their products. The buyer is the person and the focus is not on the offering. The person is connected through multiple devices, wearables, at home, on the road, and in multiple locations, sometimes simultaneously...
Everyone knows that truly innovative companies learn as they go along, pushing boundaries in response to market changes and demands. What's more of a mystery is how to balance innovation on a fresh platform built from scratch with the legacy tech stack, product suite and customers that continue to serve as the business' foundation. In his General Session at 19th Cloud Expo, Michael Chambliss, Head of Engineering at ReadyTalk, will discuss why and how ReadyTalk diverted from healthy revenue an...
SYS-CON Media announced today that @WebRTCSummit Blog, the largest WebRTC resource in the world, has been launched. @WebRTCSummit Blog offers top articles, news stories, and blog posts from the world's well-known experts and guarantees better exposure for its authors than any other publication. @WebRTCSummit Blog can be bookmarked ▸ Here @WebRTCSummit conference site can be bookmarked ▸ Here
Intelligent machines are here. Robots, self-driving cars, drones, bots and many IoT devices are becoming smarter with Machine Learning. In her session at @ThingsExpo, Sudha Jamthe, CEO of IoTDisruptions.com, will discuss the next wave of business disruption at the junction of IoT and AI, impacting many industries and set to change our lives, work and world as we know it.
Established in 1998, Calsoft is a leading software product engineering Services Company specializing in Storage, Networking, Virtualization and Cloud business verticals. Calsoft provides End-to-End Product Development, Quality Assurance Sustenance, Solution Engineering and Professional Services expertise to assist customers in achieving their product development and business goals. The company's deep domain knowledge of Storage, Virtualization, Networking and Cloud verticals helps in delivering ...
The Internet of Things (IoT), in all its myriad manifestations, has great potential. Much of that potential comes from the evolving data management and analytic (DMA) technologies and processes that allow us to gain insight from all of the IoT data that can be generated and gathered. This potential may never be met as those data sets are tied to specific industry verticals and single markets, with no clear way to use IoT data and sensor analytics to fulfill the hype being given the IoT today.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Hitrons Solutions will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Hitrons Solutions Inc. is distributor in the North American market for unique products and services of small and medium-size businesses, including cloud services and solutions, SEO marketing platforms, and mobile applications.
OnProcess Technology has announced it will be a featured speaker at @ThingsExpo, taking place November 1 - 3, 2016, in Santa Clara, California. Dan Gettens, OnProcess’ Chief Analytics Officer, will discuss how Internet of Things (IoT) data can be leveraged to predict product failures, improve uptime and slash costly inventory stock. @ThingsExpo is an annual gathering of IoT and cloud developers, practitioners and thought-leaders who exchange ideas and insights on topics ranging from Big Data in...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Enzu will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Enzu’s mission is to be the leading provider of enterprise cloud solutions worldwide. Enzu enables online businesses to use its IT infrastructure to their competitive advantage. By offering a suite of proven hosting and management services, Enzu wants companies to focus on the core of their online busine...
The explosion of new web/cloud/IoT-based applications and the data they generate are transforming our world right before our eyes. In this rush to adopt these new technologies, organizations are often ignoring fundamental questions concerning who owns the data and failing to ask for permission to conduct invasive surveillance of their customers. Organizations that are not transparent about how their systems gather data telemetry without offering shared data ownership risk product rejection, regu...
The Open Connectivity Foundation (OCF), sponsor of the IoTivity open source project, and AllSeen Alliance, which provides the AllJoyn® open source IoT framework, today announced that the two organizations’ boards have approved a merger under the OCF name and bylaws. This merger will advance interoperability between connected devices from both groups, enabling the full operating potential of IoT and representing a significant step towards a connected ecosystem.
November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Penta Security is a leading vendor for data security solutions, including its encryption solution, D’Amo. By using FPE technology, D’Amo allows for the implementation of encryption technology to sensitive data fields without modification to schema in the database environment. With businesses having their data become increasingly more complicated in their mission-critical applications (such as ERP, CRM, HRM), continued ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Embotics, the cloud automation company, will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Embotics is the cloud automation company for IT organizations and service providers that need to improve provisioning or enable self-service capabilities. With a relentless focus on delivering a premier user experience and unmatched customer support, Embotics is the fas...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Cloudbric, a leading website security provider, will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Cloudbric is an elite full service website protection solution specifically designed for IT novices, entrepreneurs, and small and medium businesses. First launched in 2015, Cloudbric is based on the enterprise level Web Application Firewall by Penta Security Sys...
Smart Cities are here to stay, but for their promise to be delivered, the data they produce must not be put in new siloes. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Mathias Herberts, Co-founder and CTO of Cityzen Data, will deep dive into best practices that will ensure a successful smart city journey.