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2016 Predictions.

Oct 13, 2015

The Open Networking Foundation shares its SDN industry predictions for the new year.

2016 PredictionsIt’s that time of year again – 2015 is wrapping up, and ONF is ready to offer up our predictions for 2016.

This year I worked with members of ONF leadership, including the Software Leadership Council (SLC), the Testing Leadership Council (TLC), ONF Research Associates, and the area directors of our technical communities, to develop our list of the things we expect to see happen in the SDN industry in 2016.

Below is a summary of these predictions, as discussed in my keynote during SDN & OpenFlow World Congress earlier today:

2016 is the year of the northbound.

A solid southbound foundation for SDN has been established over recent years, and now is the time for the NBI to shine. In 2016, ONF predicts that we will see industry agreement on, investment in, and deployment of a small number of popular NBIs. They will apply to specific use cases (such as real-time media) or operating environments (particularly relative to OpenStack). As a result, we will see the emergence of applications using these NBIs to their advantage.

Open source will be put to good use.

2015 was a big year for open source in the SDN community. In 2016, we’ll see SDN-based enterprise production applications using the developments that began this year, including open source controllers such as the Open Network Operating System (ONOS), OpenDaylight, and Ryu; Linux networking projects like IO Visor; and the above-mentioned NBIs. ONF embarked on our own open source initiatives this past year with the development of OpenSourceSDN.org, an open source software community and code repository. We expect to see these frameworks emerge in commercially available products.

Service provider adoption of SDN to expand worldwide.

We saw service provider adoption of SDN begin in 2015, especially in Asia (China, Hong Kong, Korea, and Japan). 2016 will bring about continued and expanded global adoption with OpenFlow enabling carrier SDN beginning with optical transport and packet-optical integration, then extending up to NFV (given its high traction) and into management (as the OSS is finally disaggregated).

The intersection of SDN and Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) rises to the spotlight.

NFV is a great introduction to the flexibility of network virtualization, and 2015 was a strong year for carrier deployments. However, the most important of these use cases require SDN underneath. In 2016, the combination of SDN and NFV will become commonplace in both carrier networks and enterprise clouds.

SDN and NFV lend a hand to 5G progress.

SDN and NFV will play a major role in the progress of 5G, leading up to its availability beginning in 2017. In 2016, we believe that the role of SDN in 5G will become clearer.

For more information about these predictions, you can read the press release announcing them here. Do you agree with these thoughts? Disagree? Is there anything you would add? Let us know in the comments below.

– Dan Pitt, Executive Director