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Predictions. Part One.

Oct 15, 2014

Dan Pitt offers up his predictions for SDN in 2015. 

Guten Tag from the SDN and OpenFlow® World Congress in Düsseldorf, Germany! This is always one of my favorite events of the year, and I was honored to provide this morning’s welcoming keynote. If you were in attendance, you got an advance look at my SDN predictions for 2015, addressing the exciting changes that I believe are set to take place in the upcoming year. But if you were unable to attend, or if you just want a second look, I’ve got you covered. This blog post, and another one tomorrow, will give a quick overview of what I foresee happening in the new year.

Without further ado, I bring you the first installment of my predictions:

Open-Source Software
This past year there has been a lot of talk about SDN and openness. In 2015, this theme will continue and be especially acute to software. Open-source software will not only be seen as legitimate but also the most preferred route to network standards. On one hand, vendors will look to open-source software as a way to reduce development expenses on things that don’t meaningfully differentiate products. On the other hand, network operators will begin adopting open-source software directly or indirectly, or by starting a project themselves and sharing with the community to further develop it. Some of us set in our ways may find this to be daunting, but SDN is moving quickly, which means we need to move quickly too.

Network Operators Want Open SDN
One thing ONF has seen over the past few years is that network operators do not want to be tied down by vendor lock-in when it comes to SDN solutions. Vendor lock-in was widespread when ONF was established in 2011, and we’ve come a long way in three short years. For network operators to succeed, they must recognize the value of SDN and not just network virtualization or Network Functions Virtualization (NFV), both of which cannot reach their potential value without SDN underneath. Network operators, and some enterprises, will start to see through vendor solutions touted as SDN that in reality retain proprietary protocols. With the number of operators deploying new, green-field networks via SDN, they have the upper hand to demand truly open SDN, and I strongly believe they will.

What else does 2015 have in store? Share your responses in the comments below, and check out tomorrow’s blog post for my remaining predictions.

– Dan Pitt, Executive Director