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With NFV, SDN stands for "Start Deployment Now"


Back in the mid-2000's when software defined networking (SDN) was still a research topic in universities, carriers thought it was an interesting concept, relevant to what they wanted to do, but at the time, it wasn't quite ready. A couple of years later, with the Open Networking Foundation (ONF), carriers could see how SDN could help them add value to their networks – to address issues of increasing traffic, increasing costs, and a need to raise revenue. It was relatively easy to build proof of concept projects around SDN and show that value, but as carriers tried to operationalize it and take it into the network, it became hard to build a business case. SDN is about the programmability of the topology, but having that programmability by itself is not enough. What matters is what you do with it. The use case for SDN became narrowly focused, and the initial cost to build it became too much to justify. At that point, some joked that SDN stood for "Still does nothing."


Today with network functions virtualization (NFV), we're seeing the interest and engagement accelerate much more rapidly than it did with SDN. It's easier to build a business case around NFV for solving the carriers' business problems. NFV provides a reason for having the programmability that SDN enables because once you virtualize network functions, you need an automated infrastructure to make sure you are reaping all the benefits. With virtualized network functions, you need the network underneath them to be as dynamic as the functions themselves. This enables you to instantiate them, move them around, take them down and scale them.


NFV creates a business case for SDN, so for carriers, SDN should stand for "Start deployment now."











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