The On-Demand wave arrives on Networking shores

Networking becomes a new spot of innovation with the shift to open networking and more network automation driven by SDN, NFV, cloud, mobility, big data technologies as well as evolving IT trends

Pratima Harigunani
New Update

Tee Soo Kiat


THE traditional model of purchasing and managing network services is rapidly changing and becoming less relevant. In the new industry landscape, corporations are under pressure to become more efficient and agile than before with the traditional, hardware-centric approach to networking.

The Changing Landscape

The industry today is shifting towards software, open networking and more network automation driven by evolving IT trends that are reshaping computing in many enterprises today.


The increasing adoption of the cloud, mobility and big data technologies are a key driver of these changes. Businesses want to change their network services in near real time. The onus for Network and IT professionals is to find ways they can best align to these developing trends.

We are entering a new era where the emerging technologies are transforming the network architecture as well as the way networks are deployed and operated. The network becomes a focal point for innovation as businesses increasingly demand more agile and flexible IT services.

The enterprise's demand on computing resources is also increasing and can vary drastically from one time to another. Organizations are now realizing the substantial agility and cost benefits of rapidly growing Cloud Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) offerings; for example, Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft Azure.


To cope with the changes, enterprise IT organizations are evolving their IT strategy by adopting various cloud computing models and SDN technology architectures for their internal private data centers to achieve automation and business agility.

These organizations require dynamic, scalable network architecture to ensure that application networking and security policies are fully integrated within these emerging cloud data center architectures, while simultaneously delivering sufficient automation and cost of ownership benefits.

Tee Soo Kiat


New modes of delivery

The cloud also represents a fundamental change in the way computing power is generated and distributed, transforming the delivery of IT tools and products into elastic, on-demand services. The move towards on-demand networking is spurred by operators in the service provider network going ahead with SDN and NFV deployments. Operators see tremendous value for NFV with SDN/IaaS in providing a path towards operational savings, and potentially even to revenue generation.

According to telecoms market research firm Infonetics Research, in a recent study of the SDN market outlook over the next few years, the first deployments of SDN are expected to be implemented in telco and service provider networks across the globe in 2015, heralding an important first step in moving SDN towards critical mass.


Infonetics Research also predicts the global enterprise and data center SDN market will mature and grow close to 22 per cent compounded annually for five years from 2013 to 2018, reaching $18 billion by 2018. Of that number, the market research firm believes the carrier NFV and SDN market will take a large slice of the pie and reach $11 billion by 2018.

SDN and NFV both provide automated service chaining or the dynamic provisioning of network services that support applications. Where network operators once had to manually build firewalls and load balancers to support fluid applications, they can now provision them dynamically. This will eventually allow them to increase revenue by charging fees for specialized network services that will be easy to implement.

Because the network functions are implemented in software, they can be easily moved to various locations in the network without having to install new equipment. That means operators and service providers won't need to deploy as many hard assets as before.

SDN and NFV should also be placed in the context of the larger trends of site consolidation and convergence of domains. Many operators are consolidating and reducing the number of data centers in order to increase efficiency and extract cost savings.


The coming together and integration of mobile and fixed domains could potentially lead to a convergence of the telco and enterprise technology domains into one centralized IT organization.

While we expect the move to SDN and NFV to be gradual and take time for organizations to migrate and transform, the shift by organizations in their first deployments this year is an encouraging sign that promises profound implications for way networks and services are consumed and operated, and one that will eventually lead to the creation of new business models.

Once the industry starts to see the tangible results of what software can do for the network, and how it will become more agile, flexible and less costly to operate, it will be easier and quicker for users to experience the benefits of replacing hardware functions with virtualized equivalents.

(Mr Tee Soo Kiat is Director, Systems Engineering, APAC at A10 Networks. The views expressed here are his own and CyberMedia does not necessarily subscribe to them)

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