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Some factors that can slow down SDN deployments for service providers

Posted by admin June 24, 2015
Some factors that can slow down SDN deployments for service providers</p><p>

Software-defined networking deployments are allowing service providers the opportunity to have networks that are more agile and innovative than ever before. But the adoption of SDN is not as simple as rolling out the new service and watching it work. In order for SDN to function as it should - as a truly transformative networking asset - it must be well-deployed.  Here are some of the issues that can prevent smooth deployments:

  • Scalability: Back in 2012, industry expert David Le Goff attended the Carrier Cloud Summit in Paris, during which the possible difficulties to rolling out SDN were discussed. One of the key issues that emerged was scalability. As Le Goff discussed, some attendees expressed concerns that a lack of across-the-board implementation of SDN would produce scalability problems - and it is a problem that continues to surface today.

    "Both the carrier edge and data center networks, however, need to be redesigned for improved flexibility, given the lack of visibility into the future mix of applications or the growth in workloads," he wrote. "Scalability remains a significant challenge."

  • Interoperability: A report released by Queen's University Belfast, conducted by researchers there in addition to a team from select private sector firms highlighted some of the challenges that arise when it comes to SDN implementation. A key concern put forward in the report was the question of how SDN can fit within existing networks. After all, it is not a realistic situation to assume that a carrier can simply roll out an entirely new network infrastructure in a short time frame when it makes its transition to SDN. Service providers today can't be expected to swap out legacy networking solutions in little time and expect everything to run smoothly right out of the gate.

    "One fundamental challenge of SDN is how to handle high touch, high security, high performance packet processing flows in an efficient manner," the researchers noted. "There are two elements to consider;performance and programmability/flexibility."

Challenges to SDN deployment require innovative solutions.Challenges to SDN deployment require innovative solutions.

"With automation of management, SDN for carriers can thrive."

Finding a solution with orchestration and automation
The discussion of SDN adoption cannot happen irrespective of a conversation about management. For carriers and service providers that dive into SDN without the proper preparation to manage the new networking system, successful deployment can be difficult, and the problems outlined above will create big barriers to success.

But a solution exists in the form of automation of management. What this automation allows for is a system of networking that creates an unparalleled degree of oversight and control. Through powerful workflow, integrated reporting and centralized inventory management, an automation solution goes a long way toward building a network into one that's both agile and future-focused.

The takeaway: Challenges to SDN deployment for service providers primarily come in the form of scalability and interoperability. These issues can be mitigated in part via a platform of orchestration and automation that helps ease in the adoption of SDN by accommodating legacy elements alongside new developments. 

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