It's a multidimensional world for SDN, as evidenced by the results in a recent Telco Transformation poll that ended in a tie.
In its early days, SDN's basic definition revolved around separating the control plane from the data plane en route to reaping the rewards of reduced capex. But now service providers -- as well as their customers -- are using SDN for more customer-facing applications and services, some of which were included in this poll.
The poll posed the question "What will be the key function of SDN?" Tying for first -- each with 30% of the votes -- were "Enabling orchestration, programmability and APIs" and "Applications and services, such as SD-WAN, at the network edge."
"Enabling virtual CPU services" placed third at 25% while "Managing flow of internal traffic" was fourth at 10%. "Enabling agile development and continuous delivery" came in last with 5% of the votes.
What's on Deck for SDN?
In the fifth edition of IHS Markit's
"Carrier SDN Strategies" service provider survey, the top reason service providers were spending on SDN
was to simplify and automate the provisioning of their networks to enable end-to-end network and service management control. Service providers are also deploying SDN for service agility and for quicker time to increased revenue.
The most prominent network domains where carriers plan to deploy SDN were metacloud/multicloud and multilayer transport, both at 89%.
This year's IHS Markit survey was conducted with service providers that accounted for 61% of the worldwide telecom capex and 57% of the revenue. On a recent Telco Transformation radio show, IHS Markit's Michael Howard, senior research director of carrier networks, said the survey was with 33 to 35 service providers. (See IHS Markit: Service Providers' SDN Ambitions and Plans and IHS Markit's Howard: Automate Everything .)
In the survey, 100% of the service providers were either already deploying SDN now or planned to do so in the near future. While some carriers -- such as AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T)
, CenturyLink Inc. (NYSE: CTL) and Telefónica -- already have SDN in their networks, the rest are moving from their proof-of-concept trials for SDN toward commercial deployments this year and next year, according to the survey.
"There are lot of barriers and hurdles that you have to get over to get the very first deployment of SDN or the very first deployment of NFV," Howard said during the radio show. "There's a lot that has to go in place to put it into a commercial, live revenue-bearing service in a service provider's network. They're [service providers] in the middle of figuring out how to do it, where to do it and where to start."
Lastly, according to a recent report
by Market Research Future, the global SDN market is projected to grow to $61 billion by 2023 with a compound growth rate of 39% between this year and 2023. The report cited healthcare, manufacturing, IT, telecommunications and government usage as some of the verticals that are driving SDN adoption.
— Mike Robuck, Editor, Telco Transformation