Although many service providers are starting to explore and even test SDN and Openflow technology for the potential of increasing service velocity and delivering new applications, the decision will come down to whether it makes business sense and if a cost savings can be achieved. This exercise requires an analysis of a total cost of ownership model which will validate that true efficiencies can be realized that equate to dollars saved.
Brocade has completed a TCO Model Analysis wherein we engaged ACG Research as an outside industry source to model our network and use cases. We compared the model to a network using the present mode of operation and a network where SDN and Open Flow would be deployed.
The use cases we modeled were 1) Service creation and insertion, 2) Wan Virtualization, and 3) Network Analytics.
If we look at Service Creation and Insertion today, it would entail setting up a particular service like Video on Demand where the customer traffic is implemented via configuration of a router or load balancer. Such a service is expensive because multiple server interfaces and paths across the network must be traversed between that traffic steering application and the servers, not to mention that the configuration of the router is complex and error prone. However the SDN model takes a better approach through the use of an application via Openflow that can provide a stitching point which more directly routes the flows and is capable of dynamically bypassing unnecessary services (e.g. the firewall may be deem traffic safe and communicate with the SDN controller to bypass the firewall). So the result is that SDN -optimizes the use of network resources which will equate to a cost savings in equipment and operations.
When we look at the second case which is Wan virtualization, we may be looking at an example where a customer may want to use his network in a hybrid mode where SDN acts as an overlay to the IP network and allows the customer to essentially carve out pieces of the network using SDN. Examples of this would be large Research and Education networks or Big Data networks that need to transport high capacity data without comprising or impacting the traffic and are using Openflow/SDN but also need to run a management channel using IP. SDN will allow service providers to use fewer switches since network personnel will have better visibility to the network capacity and can segment the ports by protocol.
The third case we modeled was a network analytics application which we believe will prove to be a large advantage with the deployment of SDN vs. PMO due to the automation and virtualization capabilities of SDN. Today the creation of these scripts for data retrieval is manual and very labor intensive. SDN will not only be able to take these current functions and perform them more rapidly but promote other applications that will accelerate the data collection process.
Our modeling has resulted in significant advantages: 50% savings in CapEx using SDN, 77% savings in service order fulfillment, and a 7 to 1 reduction in service order processing time. Are these numbers intriguing to you? Do you want to learn more? I’m happy to answer any questions you may have, or you can contact us for a presentation or our white paper titled “Business Case for Brocade, Software Defined Network Use Cases”. by responding to the blog