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SDN will benefit Asian telcos: interview

Nurdianah Md Nur | May 27, 2013
Aaron Sipper, solutions director at Metaswitch Networks, says SDN will help telcos deliver positive ROI.

Aaron Sipper
Aaron Sipper, solutions director at Metaswitch Networks

Even though Software Defined Network (SDN) is not exactly new, many companies are not sure if it will be able to redefine networking. Aaron Sipper, solutions director at Metaswitch Networks, talks about SDN and how it will impact the Asian telcos.

SDN is still in its infancy but has been a hot topic so far, so why should companies adopt SDN? 
SDN is not only a hot topic, it's a broad topic, which is one of the reasons we are seeing it almost everywhere. SDN can be broken down into two distinct areas: Data Center SDN and Carrier SDN. Metaswitch is focused on Carrier SDN, which is poised to revolutionise a telecom operator's wide area network, from optics all the way through to IP.

The reason is one of simple economics. Like the ETSI Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) initiative that is aimed at simplifying how individual elements are designed and deployed in order to reduce costs, Carrier SDN provides the ability to more closely tie the needs of an application or user to the underlying network transport resources. 

With SDN network, operators will be able to deliver the exact services their customers require, exactly when they want them. That saves the operator from having to keep valuable infrastructure resources to be permanently nailed-up or over-provisioned when not in use.

With that said, how do you see SDN impacting the telecom industry in Asia?
With the increased use of centralised cloud computing resources, Carrier SDN will become increasingly important to telecom providers in Asia. Two examples are data centre backup and cloudbursting, where an enterprise wishes to temporarily augment its processing or storage capacity. Both use cases demand the transfer of huge amounts of data, but only for a short period of time.

Similarly, Carrier SDN lends itself well to the localised caching demands of content distribution networks (CDNs). In all these examples, an application can dynamically request the provisioning of network connections to a stateful Carrier SDN controller, which can check network availability and apply policies before signaling the establishment of a traffic engineer path. Once again, without any human intervention, the path can be torn down once the application is finished with it.

Carrier SDN gives the network the ability to automatically respond to any number of bandwidth-on-demand scenarios, giving operators in the world's fastest growing markets ways to make the most efficient use of their networks.

As most Asia telcos today still rely strongly on hardware, what are the issues and challenges for them to transit to a software-based infrastructure?
There are two distinct issues, here:


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