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SDN trends: All eyes on SD-WAN; open SDN's path unclear

Our most-read SDN news stories of the year reveal a collective obsession with SD-WAN, as well as a strong interest in the future of open SDN.

As blogger Greg Ferro predicted at the beginning of the year, 2015 belonged to software-defined WAN. In fact, interest in this "killer" SDN use case continued to build throughout the year; two of SearchSDN's top five most-read news stories covered a major carrier's foray into managed SD-WAN services.

Analyzing reader traffic gives us insight into other SDN trends, too. Most notably, readers revealed a strong interest in the future of open SDN. While big industry players continue to voice support for openness and interoperability, the path forward for open networking appears murky. A plethora of protocols threaten to limit the flexibility of SDN controllers, and some pros said that the very definition of open has changed.

With those SDN trends in mind, here are the top SearchSDN news stories of the year.

Verizon partners with Viptela to offer hybrid WAN services

Our most-read story of the year broke the news that Verizon was experimenting with managed SD-WAN. The carrier said it used Viptela's overlay technology to help a Fortune 100 healthcare company create a secure, multi-tenant network after it sold several branch hospitals. Verizon said it offered the service to a limited, undisclosed number of select enterprises.                

BofA confronts OpenStack problems in data center overhaul

One of the perennial SDN trends: Networking pros thirst for stories of real-world SDN adoption, especially those offering candid insight into deployment challenges. In this widely read SearchSDN news article, the nation's second largest bank opened up about its transition to a software-defined data center, and how OpenStack compared to proprietary SDN architecture.   

Carriers bet big on open SDN

Stories about open software-defined networking proved of consistent interest to our readers throughout 2015. In June, carriers signaled their commitment to open SDN. But with a plethora of open technology -- and emerging open source alternatives -- the way forward is less than clear. Read the full article.

Verizon offers managed SD-WAN, with Cisco IWAN technology

Verizon's managed SD-WAN efforts made our top-five list a second time, with the news that it would be the first major U.S. carrier to offer widely available, managed SD-WAN. Verizon rolled out the new service using Cisco IWAN, but emphasized its ongoing multivendor strategy. Analysts called the move important validation for SD-WAN, securing its spot on the list of top 2015 SDN trends.

Multiple SDN protocols eclipse OpenFlow

OpenFlow is dead; long live open SDN. OK, so OpenFlow is actually far from gone, but a number of other open protocols have emerged to challenge the once-dominant standard. This story details OpenFlow's struggles and offers advice for those looking to test SDN.  

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