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Going Beyond SDN and Network Virtualization at Layer123 World Congress 2020

Christain Uremovic

October 27, 2020
By Christian Uremovic
Director of Marketing

Observations from a Solution Provider Perspective

Now that Layer123 World Congress 2020: Beyond SDN and Network Virtualization has concluded, I would like to thank the organizers for making this virtual event such an educational experience and share some personal observations and insights.

The main topics this year were digital transformation, orchestration and automation, network programmability, 5G plans and innovations, progress at the edge cloud, and emerging technologies.

An underlying theme that emerged throughout the conference presentations was open networking and disaggregation, and I think it’s fair to say that operators are adopting open networking principles more and more. One example is Deutsche Telekom’s Open Access 4.0 rollout, which was discussed in a session called The Evolution of Fixed Access through Dis-aggregated Architecture.

But there were lots of other interesting sessions this year as well. For those who could not attend, you can view the recorded content on Layer123’s YouTube channel.

My personal key takeaways from packet and optical solution provider perspective included: 

  • SDN has evolved significantly and is becoming a reality in our networks, but we need SDN controllers to enable architectures that include legacy equipment for comprehensive network automation.
  • Network automation in transport networks is critical for improving overall efficiencies enabled by centralized management and network orchestration. Cloudification has further accelerated centralized control, management, and operations. The Telecom Infra Project (TIP) is pushing standardization efforts.
  • More and more major operators have their own homegrown SDN orchestrators developed to their specific needs, largely powered by open source tools. There is clear ask for SDN vendors to support common open APIs to enable smooth integration into operators environments. 
  • End-to-end service provisioning in multi-layer and multi-vendor environments using a path computation element (PCE) is quickly becoming the top use case and requirement by operatorsIn addition, they require unified inventory discovery and network visualizationFor more information, please watch the replay of the Liberty Global and Infinera sessionSpeed, Accuracy, and End-to-End Control: The Case for Software-driven Networks, linked below.
  • Generally, operator experiences with integrating third-party network element adapters are a mixed bag, but there is alignment among operators that seamless integration into their own systems is mandatory. Clearly this is an area that needs more attention from SDN vendors. 
  • While openness and disaggregation may be happening differently in different parts of the network, like routing vs. optical domains, the desired outcomes and drivers for operators are the same, including increased choice of equipment and vendorsimproved economics, scaling more quickly, and faster innovation cycles.

From my perspective, it was nice to have our strategy around open, programmable, disaggregated networking validated. Infinera’s software strategy enabling a programmable packet and optical infrastructure also resonated with operators I chatted with online and as we highlighted our sessions at the Layer123 World Congress 2020. Replays of our sessions are available below.

Panel: Beyond SDN and NFV: Realizing Full Automation

Unlocked and Unleashed: The Case for Open and Disaggregated Networks

Speed, Accuracy, and End-to-End Control: The Case for Software-driven Networks

I am already looking forward to next year’s sessions to see how our ecosystem has evolved in realizing the benefits of open, disaggregated networks.