As we head into 2017, Corsa has gathered our predictions for what we expect to see in networking in the New Year. From security in the control/data plane to open source SDN, these are the trends we see in the market and how they might impact network functionality and scalability in 2017. Give them a read and let us know what you think in the comments.
Network Security in an SDN world
Building open programmable networks can create security risks, adding to the rapidly increasing rate of attacks on networks. But with the right approach and tools SDN done right can translate into two important developments: value-added security-by-design in the SDN implementation itself and by offering added policy-based secure traffic passage. Around this latter point, the level of automation and programmability SDN delivers can play a big role in securing the network. Many human made mistakes can be significantly reduced with agile, simplified, and open software-defined networks that can dynamically adjust to different security needs and threats.
More companies will look to SDN, NFV solutions that provide automated, policy-aware security in the control/data plane and alleviate the perceived security holes due to open virtualized networks.
Traditional switching and routing is fading
For years, the demise of hardware switching and routing has been proclaimed over and over again. Though the functionality of both will not go away, the traditional switching and routing approach is changing as software defined methods improve deployments.
The movement away from rigid hardware with inseparable software to an architecture that blends simplified but performant hardware with the flexibility of a variety of software modules to turn up new services is taking hold. To meet this evolution at WAN-scale, we must have an intelligent separation of SDN in the overlay and an open, programmable physical network for the underlay. The underlay is the domain of the network administrator and is where the physical issues of traffic management are dealt with. The SDN overlay is where services are defined, each under its own independent control, and where automation and dynamic adjustment of services can be realized.
We expect to see more service providers leverage networking equipment that is specifically designed for this new model of how the SDN overlay and underlay are defined. This will enable service providers to deliver innovative services quickly and easily.
SDN virtualization to accelerate on demand service
Last year, we witnessed the continued early days deployment of SDN in service providers, internet exchanges, ISPs, and data centers. To move closer towards the ultimate goal of a truly dynamic, self-adjusting network, SDN network hardware virtualization at WAN-scale is required. Watch for the deployment of networking equipment that can fit within an SDN overlay architecture and that has the ability to be virtualized into any number of switching or routing contexts (called Virtual Forwarding Contexts or VFCs) that can operate at internet scale, in full isolation of one another so that performance is always guaranteed. These VFCs can be created on-demand and can be allocated to customers for their own use or remain under the control of the service provider. In this way, the path to self-service, on-demand service creation will become cleared.
Open Source the right approach to SDN
As service providers and ISPs increasingly look for greater efficiencies in delivering new services to customers, they will turn to platforms that provide closer to 80 percent of the functionality pre-programmed (either via open source or vendor supplied code), thereby avoiding hiring a large team of programmers to build a learning bridge or router from scratch. Operators will then do the remaining 20 percent of the work to optimize and customize the networking solution with value-add features that make it their own. This is the path that will lead to wide deployment of SDN by service providers.
Expect to see service providers and ISPs opt for SDN solutions that are more turn-key in providing control across the network and leave 20 percent for the provider’s creative input.
What will you being spending your time and dollars on?