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The Top 5 Network Use Cases for SDN and NFV

Infonetics Research released the findings from its latest market study, for which leading operators were interviewed to determine the timing and priority of the many use cases for their software-defined network (SDN) and network function virtualization (NFV) projects.

The market study was a valid sample of network operators from around the world  -- representing 53 percent of the global telecommunications service provider capital expenditure.

The promise of SDN and NFV technology adoption is already perceived to be significant and beneficial to broadband network service providers. Therefore, we should anticipate that more market studies will uncover additional details that provide early-adopter best practices and associated lessons learned.

"For the most part, carriers are starting small with their SDN and NFV deployments, focusing on only parts of their network -- what we call 'contained domains' -- to ensure they can get the technology to work as intended," explains Michael Howard, principal analyst at Infonetics Research.

"But momentum for more widespread use of SDN and NFV is strong, as evidenced by the vast majority of operators participating in our study who plan to deploy the technologies in key parts of their networks, from the core to aggregation to customer access," Howard adds.

Even so, Infonetics says that they believe it will be many years before we see bigger parts -- or a whole network -- controlled by SDNs. That being said, broad adoption of these technologies could accelerate if a specific compelling use case scenario emerges from the trial applications.



Highlights from the latest market study include:
  • Virtually all major operators are either evaluating SDNs now or plan to do so within the next 3 years.
  • SDN and NFV evaluation and deployments are being driven by carriers' desire for service agility resulting in quicker time to revenue and operational efficiency.
  • The top 5 network domains named by operators when asked where they plan to deploy SDNs and NFV by 2014: Within data centers, between data centers, operations and management, content delivery networks (CDNs), and cloud services.
  • 86 percent of operators are confident they will deploy SDN and NFV technology in their optical transport networks as well at some point, once standards are finalized.
  • Study participants rated CDNs, IP multimedia subsystems (IMS), and virtual routers/security gateways as the top applications for NFV

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