Software Defined Networking (SDN) isn't just a buzzword. It's a fundamental shift in the way networks work, and Avaya believes it can leverage SDN to deliver real value to customers.
In an exclusive video interview with Enterprise Networking Planet, Avaya Networking senior vice president and general manager Marc Randall explains why SDN matters, and why the conversation has changed.
Avaya acquired the enterprise networking assets from bankrupt Nortel in 2009. While still supporting the Nortel legacy, Avaya has made significant strides forward in enabling the modern world of BYOD and SDN.
Key to the Avaya Networking evolution is increasing application awareness on the network.
"From the network side, we've been enabling technologies that allow clients and applications to run better on an Avaya network," Randall said.
SDN is a big umbrella term, according to Randall. In his view, SDN comprises two core components: the network side and the control side.
The network piece handles virtualization of the network for scale and better multi-tenancy. Matching applications and users in the virtual network is also key. For Avaya, the Shortest Path Bridging (SPB) standard is the fabric that helps enable network virtualization. Randall noted that with SPB, you can fluidly build network connectivity for an application and scale it to tens of thousands of virtualized networks.
On the control side, it's all about being able to manage the network assets and communicate to applications running on the network.
Randall provided the example of an enterprise running a video solution, with a need to connect a number of individuals for a high-priority session. With an SDN methodology, a session can be created with users in their own virtualized network to provide data separation. A Quality of Service rule can be put into place to provide high-performance connectivity for the virtualized network.
Moving to SDN
Migrations to virtualized networking infrastructures are now starting to take hold. According to Randall, in the past, enterprises needed to build discrete physical networks to get data separation. With network virtualization, one physical network can be built and then carved up into any number of virtual networks.
"The biggest challenge for us isn't the technology," Randall said. "We have the technology. The challenge is getting out and changing the dialogue with customers about what they want to do from a business point of view."
The days of simply talking about speeds and feeds for networking gear are now gone.
"Speeds and feeds, whether you have 48 ports of 1 Gig or 48 ports of 10 Gig, don't matter anymore," Randall said. "All the vendors will have the same capabilities - timing might be off - but the challenge is talking to customers about how they can solve some of their problems."
Watch the full video interview with Marc Randall below.
Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at Enterprise Networking Planet and InternetNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.