The latest networking vendor to make the move to software-defined networking (SDN) is Avaya, which today unveiled the Avaya SDN Fx architecture.
Jean Turgeon, vice president and chief technologist for software-defined architecture at Avaya, says that Avaya SDN Fx architecture creates an open framework for managing networking gear at a higher level of abstraction using Avaya Fabric Networking technology.
Avaya Fabric Connect software extends the reach of the Avaya Fabric to any device that is plugged into an Open Networking Adapter appliance that runs an embedded SDN controller, which is compatible with emerging OpenFlow, OpenDaylight and OpenStack network and cloud management standards.
The end result, says Turgeon, is the ability to provision networking services on an end-to-end basis regardless of which company manufactured the devices attached to the edge of the network.
In general, SDNs separate the control and data management planes on the network. This allows SDNs to herald a new era of both simplified management and open networking. It’s not clear, though, the degree to which the rise of SDNs will lead enterprise IT organizations to replace incumbent network vendors with rival networking fabrics based on open architectures instead of continuing to rely on proprietary networking architectures.
Regardless of the approach, SDNs represent a fundamental shift in how networks are managed. Manual processes based on command-line interfaces that are running on individual devices will give way to software that allows IT organizations to program network functions at scale and eventually run Network Function Virtualization (NFV) software that will eliminate the need for many network appliances.
It may take a while for most organizations to make that shift, but given the significant reduction in the cost of managing networks and the IT agility that SDNs enable, the transition to SDNs at this point seems all but inevitable.