SDN Reality Check! – A Tale of Two Cities?

Roundtable#2 of our “SDN Reality Check!” series, kicked off with eight experts in attendance. The experts included: Mike Fratto (Current Analysis), Steve West (Cyan), Chris Liou (Infinera), Matthew Bocci (Alcatel-Lucent), Casimer DeCusatis (IBM), Yaakov Stein (RAD), Zeev Draer (MRV) and I, Vishal Sharma (Metanoia, Inc.).

The key question to be addressed, of course, was a spillover from Roundtable#1 (whose conclusions you can find here), and it was: how may we best capture the defining characteristics of an SDN or an SDN solution?

To harmonize the various view points, we started with the list of “core defining attributes” and “business or market-driven attributes”, and heard the views of the experts present. Some discussion revealed that the attributes were, by and large, on target.

The key observation was that one cannot think of SDN as being fully-centralized or fully-distributed. Rather, there is a continuum of solutions (leaning towards centralization) that works for different scenarios.

It was also clear that there are two cities  :-)  (read user communities) we need to consider:

(i) Data-center providers and their enterprise customers, and

(ii) Telecom service providers and their customers.

To hear the expert opinions for yourself, you may download Roundtable#2 here (.mp3), or here (,WAV), and may access highlighted transcripts of Roundtable#2 here.

You can also find my revised list of attributes with post-Roundtable#2 notes, here.

What is your view? Do you think we’re on target? Is there a significant attribute that we missed? Do you think the attributes for SDN in the data center are fundamentally different than those for SDN in the telecom service provider network? Or, are there common features that should be abstracted?

You may share your comments below, on our Carrier Ethernet Linked In Group (where discussions are ongoing), or register here, and submit your top 3 questions for possible consideration at a subsequent Roundtable or on the Panel (for details, scroll to the bottom of the page) at the MPLS & Ethernet World Congress 2013, on March 20th!

Let us hear from you!