Written by Dan Pitt
Dan Pitt is Executive Director of the Open Networking Foundation, joining on its public launch in March 2011.
Enterprises transitioning to Software Defined Networks must have an idea of their ultimate objectives in relation to risk tolerance. As for networking professionals preparing for SDN, Kenneth Dilbeck believes that education about the technology is key; people who have a good grasp of SDN can offer really good advice on how to harvest that value will find themselves in good stead.
Basically I'm advising our co-operators to start soon but start small. Try something, get some experience in the small scale, start in the green field and then move to converting your, your existing network. That way you can avoid having sort of a bad surprise. Ask the hard questions of your vendors. Ask the hard questions of yourself. How much am I committed to having software expertise in my company? How much am I willing to give up in terms of vendor flexibility that someone deliver me a turnkey solution? What other sources can I look at for helping me build a solution for myself? There are the vendors, there are the resellers, and the system integrators. That have a new opportunity here to sort of build the glue between the products and what the operators need.
We talk about SDN and we talk a lot about the DN but there's a lot of S that needs to be written. And that's going to come from a variety of outsources. The enterprises that are moving to SDN need to have an idea of what their appetite for risk is. How big are hurry they are and what their ultimate objective really is. Whether you for an equipment manufacture, a software company, a network operator enterprise, telco. My probably most important advice is to educate yourself as much as you can. On the technology and how it can benefit your customers or your employer. I think there are opportunities throughout the food chain here. People that understand it well can offer really good advice on how to harvest that value will find themselves in good stead.
Network folks have an end to end view that application folks don't always have. I think the network folks that can bring that end to end view interplay in figuring how to do the orchestration. How to do the mapping, how to figure out what the routing should be to meet the requirements of certain application traffic. They will find their influence growing. If they don't understand that and all they want to do is put a new configuration thing, they're not going to have the same kind of future. I don't think we're going to be able to convert all these network engineers into programmers. It's a different discipline. It's a going to be possible certainly in the next 10 years for them to find value in helping their organization adopt SDN.
Let's face it. Every IT department is under pressure to reduce cost. Always a cost center. Money we wished we didn't have to spend and up to now a lot of cost reduction has been by moving stuff into the cloud. With the application under the cloud. When you can start to move some of the network functions into the cloud as well but you need to know how to orchestrate that for your own particular enterprise. When there were just cookie cutter solutions that vendors produce for all their customers, you didn't really have a choice of how do I make something very custom for me. You will now have that choice. The people who can help make that choice come true in real and actually be a singular solution and a competitive advantage, will find themselves in great demand. The CIO that can demonstrate that the IT organization can actually contribute meaningfully to the bottom line, will have a much greater influence in the corporation. I think that's going to be possible really and a new way for the first time with SDN.