the Access Point Blog

SDN could drive iPhone-like change

By Richard Watson

Software-defined networking has a lot of hype to live up to. Many experts are expecting the trend to take off within the next few years, as computing processes become more complicated. SDN will be able to provide a more standardized way of controlling multiple systems from one platform, which will be essential to future operations as management continues to become more complex. Although some may view aggressive support in this technology as jumping the gun before it can fully prove its functions, it will be more advantageous to embrace SDN early. With the opportunities and capabilities that SDN has already shown in its arsenal, there’s never been a better time to look into this trend and see what else it has to offer.

SDN reflective of Apple’s innovations
Numerous organizations and experts have been talking up SDN and its potential as a business asset. We are at the leading-edge of SDN, but I personally feel in enterprise, SDN has the potential to drive the kind of change that Apple’s iPhone drove in the cellphone world. Before iPhone came around, the applications were tightly controlled by the carrier. Each carrier would say “oh I’m going to sell you a Verizon GPS application for $5 a month” or “I’m going to sell you visual voicemail for $3 a month.” So first of all, you had very few applications and those applications were expensive and not that good.

When Apple opened it up to third parties, it unleashed a wave of innovation. The applications developers came in, started developing and today, it’s a totally new world. We can’t live without our smartphones anymore, and we are taking them for granted. Networking is in a very parallel phase. It’s very closed, you buy everything from Cisco. Cisco will provide you all the applications for security, analytics and stuff. As long as you buy everything from Cisco, it will work, but they are expensive, and they are not the most user-friendly applications.

By supporting SDN and partnering with other players and helping drive the ecosystem of partners, we feel it will increase the velocity of innovation, and over the next few years, there will be a lot more applications available for enterprises to realize the benefit. Just like with iPhone, we could not foresee the different kinds of applications that might appear, we probably don’t know where the advancement will come from, but we are confident a greater amount of innovation will be unleashed.

Will SDN succeed?
In our services, we are now offering SDN-enabled solutions that will help customers easily integrate systems with their current architecture. With SDN capability, managing these networks will be significantly easier for any business that has hardware from multiple vendors. With the type of change that SDN is expected to drive in the near future, it’s likely that it will be around as an enterprise asset for the long run.


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