Validating the Economic Impact of SDN

Comments: 0 Runtime: 2:29 Posted: January 9th, 2015

Investment allocation, especially towards the IT department, is a big part of any company's planning procedure. Traditionally, larger enterprises have been relatively risk-averse in this department. However, when it comes to investing in the era of software defined networks, Vess Bakalov believes that larger enterprises are the ones who will likely take the initial steps towards rolling out new solutions.

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As we make these investments, a lot of them have to do with a lot of money, for every company. The network is a very large part of my IT expense; and any other CIO and CTO out there are really thinking of how they're going to invest their dollars.

It's a good thing to think about let me invest it in the most efficient way possible, in terms of buying the lowest-cost equipment, but the second part is: that will provide the service I need. At this point of time, I don't think it's extremely clear yet whether some of the low-cost solutions at the edge being centrally controlled would necessarily be able to provide the level of service most people are looking for in their networks. It is very likely it will; in theory, it will, and on paper, it will, but validating that is actually not an easy task.

I think we're going to see the larger players, and actually, as a matter of fact, we're seeing the larger players, the Microsofts, the Facebooks, the Googles, take the first step. That's a little bit backwards from what we've seen historically: historically larger companies have been more conservative. Today, we're seeing those guys take the first steps because they are the ones big enough to have labs and staff to validate this. Most smaller companies are really not equipped to go in a world that's not dominated necessarily by the big brands; and they can not make the choice between the four leading brands so now you're sort of assembling the solution yourself a little bit.

Not saying that the big players don't offer their own solutions to this, but really some of these approaches, by their very nature, using white boxes at the edge, being centrally controlled: well, Who do you buy the white boxes from? You say well, you know, I'll just get a box of Broadcom chips. That's great, but who's supporting it? Who are you going to call when it breaks? Is it going to be cheap enough you don't care? Do you have enough people on site? If you don't leverage one of the big networking provider's, or even medium networking provider's support network, that may be actually an impossibility for many companies out there to deploy effectively in their networks.

There is many factors to consider, both business-wise as well as technology-wise.