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Survey shows how early adopters define SDN

In this week's blog roundup, a survey of early adopters offers insights into the evolving definition of SDN, and several service providers join an SDN alliance.

We've rounded up some of the most interesting, recent posts from the software-defined networking blogosphere: Survey results offered insight into how 150 early adopters define SDN; several network providers joined a startup international SDN alliance; and an analyst took a look at Cisco's Digital Network Architecture.

How early adopters define SDN

Shamus McGillicuddy, an analyst at Enterprise Management Associates (EMA), based in Boulder, Colo., shared some insight into how early adopters currently define SDN. EMA recently published the results of a survey of 150 enterprises that have either deployed SDN, or plan to do so within the next year.

To determine how these respondents define SDN, EMA asked them what characteristics they find most important in a software-defined network:

McGillicuddy wrote that these responses reflect what he currently sees in the market, with almost all SDN offerings using a centralized controller that enables a fluid architecture -- a concept he said gets to the heart of SDN. Most also use low-cost hardware, or require no new hardware at all. He pointed out that even Cisco's Application Centric Infrastructure relies on Nexus 9000 switches, which are less expensive than other Nexus options.

Therefore, he concluded we can define SDN as "characterized by a fluid network architecture that is enabled by a centralized controller and low-cost hardware."

Read more of McGillicuddy's thoughts on the evolving definition of SDN here.

Service providers join startup SDN alliance

Brian Washburn, an analyst at Current Analysis Inc., based in Sterling, Va., recently shared his perspective on interesting news from the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain: Several major service providers have joined a new SDN services alliance, called ngena.

CenturyLink, Deutsche Telekom, Reliance Jio and SK Telecom said they will become wholesale suppliers to ngena, which stands for Next-Generation Enterprise Network Alliance.

According to Washburn, the Germany-based startup plans to function as a wholesale broker -- with no independent network assets -- selling SDN-based services provided by several dozen alliance members. This model will, theoretically, allow smaller providers to share resources and compete with global operators, offering a worldwide, unified source for SDN, virtualization and orchestration services.

Check out Washburn's thoughts on the global carrier consortia period of the 1990s, and what it might mean for ngena.

Cisco's Digital Network Architecture

Dan Conde, an analyst at Enterprise Strategy Group Inc., based in Milford, Mass., recently wrote about Cisco's Digital Network Architecture (DNA), saying the comprehensive architecture is evidence of the increasing sophistication of enterprisewide networking. He said service provider technologies, such as network functions virtualization, are trickling out of the data center and down into the mainstream enterprise.

Conde said DNA's emphasis on automation, policy-based network control and security all underscore the growing importance of these elements in networking today. The key takeaway, he wrote, is that modern networks can actually add value to the enterprise. Rather than just eating up resources, networking can enable high-level services that improve the overall business.

See Conde's full post here.

Next Steps

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