Software-defined everything | Network World


Digital transformation is ushering in what the organizers of this year’s Pacific Telecommunications Council’s (PTC) 2018 global conference called “a new decade of connections.” The global trends driving digital include greater technology use, urbanization, data sovereignty, cybersecurity and global trade of digital services, as reported in the Global Interconnection Index, a market study published by Equinix. These macro trends are behind the creation of increasing amounts of data coming from new sources, such as digital media, artificial intelligence/machine learning (AI/ML), big data and security analytics, augmented/virtual reality and the Internet of Things (IoT).

The dynamic and interactive characteristics of these technologies demand more elasticity than today’s legacy backbone networks can deliver, as well as more flexible, agile and cost-effective low-latency and high-bandwidth connections to handle the digital deluge. In fact, the Global Interconnection Index predicts that by 2020, digital business will require over 5,000 terabits of Interconnection Bandwidth capacity to privately exchange data between businesses, outpacing the overall global growth of IP traffic, the internet and MPLS networks.

This is why the industry has turned to software-defined networking (SDN) and network functions (NFV) virtualization technologies to carry it into the digital future.

How SDN and NFV are being leveraged and monetized today

SDN encompasses a variety of networking technologies that enable network and cloud engineers and administrators to respond quickly to changing business requirements via programmable controls and a centralized control console. It allows the physical separation of the network control plane (the brains) from the forwarding plane (the muscle). This enables the network control to be programmable and the underlying network infrastructure, which can made up of devices that are not specialized-network appliances, to be abstracted for multiple applications and network services (e.g., SDN cloud computing, mobile networks). Some of its capabilities include:

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