How will SDN change the game?

I have been reading a lot about SDN (Software Defined Networks) lately and it is becoming clear to me that SDN will be a game changer. Video conferencing companies for example, have been struggling to create the most bandwidth efficient CODEC’s, that all effect video quality to some degree. SDN will transform business Internet connections with flexible SLA’s (Service Level Agreements) insuring that every business has access to the bandwidth they need, when they need it. If you believe the early reports, SDN will achieve this goal using lower cost hardware enabling the service providers to offer businesses cost effective services that are no longer tied to fixed size pipes.

Companies will not pay for 100 MB/s pipes that carry no traffic at night. When they want a high quality video conference, the application will communicate with the SDN network controller and bandwidth will be made available for the duration of the call.

   “The idea of a fixed customer premise speed will go away with SDN.”

With the ability to pay for only the bandwidth that you need, it will be much easier to justify a higher bandwidth video call for a business meeting. If that meeting replaces the cost of a face to face meeting, the business will actually save money and be able to meet with it’s customers more often. Any sales person will tell you that staying in your customer’s mind, listening to their challenges and addressing their concerns are key to customer retention.

SDN may in fact be the piece that high end video conferencing has been missing. The challenge for vendors will be implementing and maintaining the SDN controller north bound interface. SDN applications have started appearing from companies like Big Switch, NEC and IBM. All of these vendors are promoting their own RESTful north bound interface to open source SDN controllers like Open Daylight.

Demonstrating application SDN network control early will be a key part of the vendor selection for major service providers that are trying to accelerate the deployment of SDN services.


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