SDN in the Real World

SDN in the Real World

Over the last five years we’ve seen a lot of SDN technologies emerge – from the original Openflow switches, to the myriad of overlay technologies such as SD WAN, Contrail, Nuage, and more, not to mention a number of open source projects.

One thing we can say about all of the them though, is that they have been divergent network strategies.  That is to say, that implementing any one of these technologies requires that you deploy a new network, either physical or virtual.  They all require that this new domain is managed, separate and distinct from the existing network and they all require a new data plane to work.

In parallel with the SDN movement, has been the move to “digitize” the network – that is to say, to bring the same level of automation to networking that we’ve seen in the compute space, and preferably without having to rebuild the entire network.

SDN can and should play a key role in the move to automation, and yet most of these technologies complicate, not simplify the network.  Alongside the effort to automate is lost while yet another proprietary system is deployed. For example, debugging a network connectivity problem now involves solving for both overlay and underlay issues – the new virtual network and the underlying network.

Convergent Software Defined NetworkWhen we started Lumina Networks, we had a different vision for SDN – as a convergent, not divergent technology.  By selecting OpenDaylight as our open source controller, we made a conscious choice to enable the SDN control of every domain across the network, and worked with the community on building the necessary protocols and interfaces to allow control of almost anything in the network, even if the product was never designed with SDN in mind.

This focus on inclusion, and with it, multi-domain SDN control, is vital for anyone intent on automating their network and abstracting the business logic from the network control logic.  This is why OpenDaylight is controlling more devices than any other open source networking project and why it is a key part of transformational projects such as ONAP.

As an industry, we need to get over the distraction of divergent SDN solutions and stick to the task at hand, which is to radically reduce the time and cost associated with deploying, provisioning and running networks, through the converged automation of end-to-end services. Our customers know this well, which is why they choose Lumina to open their networks to SDN.

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