Trends 2016: SDN remains unbeatable!

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By Anand Pal


The cloud is growing bigger and bigger and traditional networking cannot keep up. SDN provides much more power to enterprises allowing them to do many things.

In 2016, it is expected that the adoption of software-defined networking (SDN) will increase as service providers and enterprises show more interest in this technology solutions. As service providers are analyzing the real business values of software defined networking and service providers are looking for flexibility, automation, visibility, revenue generation.

 Over the years, SDN has been moving very fast and has become critical because enterprises are looking to get more value from their investments, networking and data centers. It is critical because data centers are growing at an alarming rate and enterprises need to move with the times.


Enterprises and service providers will adopt SDN as they see it as a way to make their private cloud work better for them. SDN has become an inevitable plan from a practical and professional perspective.

The cloud is growing bigger and bigger and traditional networking cannot satisfy the requirements. SDN is the future trend because it provides much more power and allows enterprises to do many things, which can't be done today.

SDN is the paradigm that can scale up / scale out and allow enterprises to keep up with data centres. The traditional network is not adequate because it is the hardware-defined network; however, software can change the whole network.


SDN goes open source

Software-defined networking platforms are increasingly open source. Being open involves giving customers a choice so they’re not restricted to a proprietary solution.

SDN, where networking is controlled through software or virtualization, comprises three vectors: programmability, the OpenFlow protocol and virtualization.


SDN is also multi-tenant, while using the analogy of a multitenant apartment building. You want to use the same IT infrastructure for multiple tenants.

The goal of SDN is to allow network engineers and administrators to respond quickly to changing business requirements. SDN provides the capabilities to shape traffic from a centralized console, bypassing the need to configure individual switches. This allows services to be delivered where they are needed, when they are needed – with less room for human error.

By definition, SDN seems like a no-brainer. It makes perfect sense for organizations to strive to quickly adapt to changing business requirements, so why not implement SDN tomorrow?



Communications service providers have long wished to drive down the operational cost (Opex) of their networks and increase the agility and speed with which they deliver new services. Their concern to achieve a programmable network that can be reconfigured quickly, easily and cost-effectively to meet new customer and service demand is driving huge interest in technologies such as SDN and NFV these technologies promise to revolutionize network operations through automation and application programming interface (APIs).

The NETCONF– Network Configurations Protocol is an internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) standard protocol for reading and writing network configurations and together with its associated data-modeling language YANG, it can make a powerful contribution to network opex reduction and speed of service turn-up.


NETCONF and YANG support the automation of sequences of configurations across heterogeneous devices at multiple layers of the network. NETCONF and YANG are specially designed for the task of network configurations. So, they can do configurations faster and error free.

OpenStack gains momentum

OpenStack is a four-year-old open source infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) project that has grown into one of the largest collaborative development platforms globally. It is beginning to underpin a variety of public IaaS clouds and target an increasing number of market segments.


It is a project in which developers and cloud computing providers come together to create an open platform for public and private clouds. It “brings standardization to the software defined data center. Basically, OpenStack is very similar to what we saw with Linux in the ’90s and early 2000s. It’s along that same maturity curve. We’re seeing the same amount of participation.

Although the OpenStack environment is somewhat fragmented, that will be a key way that components will implement software-defined technology.

Emergence of container platforms

Software-defined technologies gaining attention are containers and open-source projects such as Docker which will provide the automation to deploy applications within them.

Containers are similar to a hypervisor or virtual machine but more focused at the operating system level.

Instead of virtualizationing the entire server hardware and providing a VM that has to have an OS on it, it’s basically a very lightweight virtualization technology that lets you virtualize the operating system then you put your app on top of a virtualized OS in this container.

Cloud APIs, and why they matter most

As cloud computing and SDN continues to gain momentum, system administrators are looking for more ways to integrate with their cloud model.

There are now more direct use cases for cloud computing, which require greater levels of customization. The ability to enhance the cloud experience and have cross-cloud compatibility has helped form the Cloud API (Application Programming Interface) environment. Now, administrators can integrate applications and other workloads into the cloud using these APIs.

But which model is the right one, and how can you incorporate an API into your cloud?

Understanding the cloud API model isn’t always easy. There are many ways to integrate into an infrastructure, and each methodology has its own underlying components.

To get a better understanding of cloud computing and how APIs fit into the process, it’s important to break down the conversation at a high level. There are four major areas where cloud computing will need to integrate with another platform (or even another cloud provider).

Alcatel-Lucent,Anand Pal, DGM IP Division, Alcatel-Lucent India.

(The author, Anand Pal, is DGM IP Division, Alcatel-Lucent India)

cloud sdn openstack software-defined-networking cloud-apis netconf