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Sam K. Aldrin speaking at TFI2014

Sam K. AldrinThe driving force behind our The Future of the Internet (TFI) events is dialogue and discussion. We want these events to be hotbeds of conversation and information sharing, not just in lectures but in Q&A, panel discussions, audience participation, hallway conversations, and lasting relationships. This year’s event is no different, and so to get The Future of the Internet 2014: Defining Software Defined Networks kicked off we’ll be posting some thoughts from each of our speakers over the next few days. TO make it easy, we’re going alphabetical which means starting here with Sam K. Aldrin.

Working as Principal Engineer in IP Labs of Network Product Line R&D division at Huawei Technologies, based at Santa Clara, USA. More than 20 years of experience in the area IP, MPLS and Datacenter technologies. Driving various initiatives in new technology development and research areas of IP packet, Mobile Backhaul, Datacenter and Transport networks. Architected, designed and deployed IP/MPLS and MPLS TP within various network products based on IETF and ITU standards. An active participant at standard body groups and authored several RFC’s and drafts. Prior to Huawei Technologies worked at Cisco Systems for more than a decade.

I’ll let Sam take it from here:

What is SDN?

SDN = ‘Self Defined Networks’ 😀

SDN means different to different folks. Traditionally, control plane technologies are closely tied to data plane. Network elements, distributed across the network, works in harmony with control plane being the glue in providing signaling and establishing data paths depending on the connectivity and polices configured. SDN definition coined by Open Networking Foundation is the separation of Control Plane and Data Plane. In my perspective, separation of control plane and data plane was in existence since long, with protocols like MPLS, etc.

A true SDN in my definition is “Programmable network, without the need for Data plane dependency on the Control plane, and enablement of the network topology, data and configuration models abstracted, controlled and programmed through standard API definition”. This will enable the networks to be dynamic, adaptable and hardware independent, thus enabling the service delivery and new technology adoption roll out at a faster rate. Although there is a benefit in terms of lowering of CAPEX, but over all TCO may vary compared to traditional network model, at least in the near term.

Why are you excited about SDN?

SDN provides multiple benefits, which were not available in the traditional network devices and deployments. Some of the key and exciting factors, which I personally believe, are:

  • Ability to program networks using software and make the networks, to be application specific.
  • Ability to centralize intelligence and empowering service providers rollout new services with minimal impact
  • Availability of API, not just CLI and SNMP only, to be able to program using application and drive new applications to cater to the needs of services
  • Exciting opportunity to make networks move away from vendor lock-in’s and giving the power to make networks to be multivendor capable and less of hardware dependent.
  • Move from ‘what services network could support?’ ->To-> ‘Create network on demand to support services, programmatically’

How does the network of the future differ from today?

Today, Networks are viewed as static physical infrastructure over which services could be delivered, depending on the capability and resource availability. In order to roll out new services and technologies, not only it is complicated but also very rigid due to the lack of interface to program the network.

With SDN, it opens a world of possibilities to move the intelligence from hardware dependent to software based applications. Rather than making the hardware a dumb device, which many proponents of SDN used to say, it empowers the Operator and applications to leverage the power of software, which used to be vendor dependent, and make it open and with common interface, within the networks and its devices. SDN leverages both declarative and imperative models to serve the needs of various services based network designs.

Some of the initiatives which I am driving with SDN in conjunction with NFV @Huawei, could potentially change the way networks and services are being rolled out today:

  • Seamless Virtual Area Networks – Provides end to end virtual networks considering various attributes like QoS, Bandwidth elasticity, Protection services
  • End to end virtual services orchestration – Dynamic allocation, creation and chaining of network function like policy controller, traffic optimizer, etc for a given service/tenant/DC
  • OAM for virtual networks – Ability to manage and administer services running over virtual networks.

Come chat with Sam live and in person Friday 22 August in Denver at TFI2014 – register now!

August 13th, 2014 by | Posted in Events, SDN | Tags: , , , |

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