Dustin Kehoe, Head of AP Telecoms Practice, Current Analysis said that the technology industry is moving to open – open hardware, software, source, APIs, and interfaces.
The future will be a platform play, he said, and be about building modular datacentres. Two problems face us: networks which are still slow, and offer static workloads with manual configuration, and cloud, especially hybrid, which requires multiple layers of management. Solutions are still vendor-specific, vendors still don’t work together and want to lock in the customer. Even if you build your own IP, it leads to fragmentation.
As for SDN, IT process automation is the main use case. SDN is mature today, and we are seeing deployments in all areas of the globe including APAC. Research finds that the top three expectations are that it will improve network reliability, accelerate application deployment, and lead to better integration. Customers want open source to avoid lock-in but find it difficult to locate the right open source skills.
Jon Vestal, Vice President, Product Architecture, Telstra, said his company uses open source OpenStack with SDN. Growing pains included asking network engineers who knew proprietary systems such as IOS and having to teach them them Python! It was a comedy of errors, probably the worst thing we ever did, he said, but it had to be done.
Jonathan Seckler, Director, Product Marketing, Dell Networking, said switches are servers from a hardware architectural standpoint. The trend is toward open networks, although back in 1990s, enterprise applications ran on mainframes – you wouldn’t do that now because it’s proprietary – but that’s still how it is in the network. Open source takes cost out of the maintenance and hardware acquisition.
Gint Atkinson, Vice President – Head, Technology Asia, Colt Technology Services Co., Ltd, question whether such hardware was carrier grade. Installing new stacks etc takes decades – back in the day we did build routers using open source software. In the end you had to build it to look like a mainframe but it wasn’t as fast as a focused proprietary system. There are no open solutions to give under 50ms routing failover. SDN can fit in if you’ve got a minute or two but rerouting protection isn’t fast enough on open source.
Steven Davis, Senior Vice President, Global Data Centre, ST Telemedia Connect, said cloud grade services (eg Facebook) are all run on SDN. Another key issue is price, Cisco etc are too expensive.
Derrick Loi, Senior Director, DC Solution and Services, Orange Cloud for Business, Asia Pacific, said the key enterprise concern is digital transformation. So we want to keep the intelligence and provide end2end services. Also the network needs to be application ready and intelligent enough to automate, based on workloads. It’s about how we orchestrate infrastructure within the datacentre. We have integrated over 80 ope source applications and customers can integrate their own applications. Effectively it’s IaaS, all automated. So we link SDDC with SDN.
Q: Where are we at?
Davis said after the cloud, hyper-convergence is coming via a single portal to control all your clouds. We’re starting to see that coming now.
Vestal said carriers didn’t at one point meet customer needs but now they are offering services and products that allow interconnection.
Seckler said the model is outside the network industry. Enterprises needs partners to package OSS open source software to make it easier to manage and deliver a service. It’s not a DIY process for most enterprises, not realistic to do a Google or Facebook – it’s not about going to white boxes and recompiling every day.
Davis said it took the open source software market seven years to catch up with what Oracle was doing – PostgreSQL did it.
Atkinson said what’s needed is a network that supports a wide range of services.