Bernadette Noujaim Baldwin Issue: Asia-Pacific I 2015
Article no.: 11
Topic: Software Defined Networking – Taking the right path
Author: Bernadette Noujaim Baldwin
Title: Head of Connectivity & Platforms – International, Global Enterprise & Services
Organisation: Telstra
PDF size: 1600KB

About author

Bernadette Noujaim Baldwin Head of Connectivity and Platforms – International, Global Enterprise & Services, Telstra

Bernadette Noujaim Baldwin is Telstra’s Head of Connectivity & Platforms Portfolio based in Singapore, where she is responsible for the Internet, bandwidth, voice and IPX product portfolios.

Bernadette has more than 16 years experience working in the telecommunications and systems integration arena, starting her career as a Solutions Technical Designer for British Telecom in the UK and Asia. She was then Head of Professional Services, managing technical design, project management and service management teams for South East Asia and finally running the Global Services Product Portfolio for Asia Pacific.

Prior to joining Telstra, Bernadette was Solutions Product Manager for Dimension Data, focusing on process engineering across six lines of business and was instrumental in launching 13 enterprise mobility demonstration centres in Asia.

Article abstract

Launching an SDN project today will help enable organisations to gain that all important edge over their competitors. IDC notes that the years 2014 to 2016 are going to be a “significant launch point” for SDN in the enterprise, indicating those businesses that fail to get on board over the next few months risk being left behind. 

Full Article

Virtualisation of server and storage resources to run private and hybrid clouds is an increasingly entrenched practice among Asia-Pacific businesses and government agencies. In order to empower greater capability from our robust and resilient networks, organisations are looking towards these new technologies to aid the reduction of costs and assist with boosting application performance and availability.

Empowering greater capability helps enable technology and business decision-makers who want to use cloud applications and services to take advantage of workforce mobility, the Internet of Things (IoT) and surging data volumes.

But how can technology decision-makers help enable innovation and exploit the cloud environments? The answer is Software Defined Networking (SDN).

SDN broadly applies the same model to networking, as virtualisation and the cloud applies to servers and storage in the data centre, delivering programmability to the data centre and corporate networks. At Telstra we are continuously investing in enabling SDN capability, not only in the cloud but also in the optical network and Ethernet aggregation.

This is a huge priority for us because organisations can use SDN to dynamically allocate network resources based on application needs, and improve management of network performance and service quality. The technology is already in use in many data centres to support cloud projects and while its extension into the corporate Wide Area Network (WAN) and campus is still at the fledgling stage significant growth is predicted in the years ahead.

In fact, IDC predicts the global market for SDN will grow from USD$960 million in 2014 to more than USD$8 billion in 2018.

So how should businesses embrace the opportunity presented by SDN? The answer is to apply the same rigour as to all new technologies, including mitigating risks to security, performance and availability.

Be an early adopter

Launching an SDN project today will help enable organisations to gain that all important edge over their competitors. IDC notes that the years 2014 to 2016 are going to be a “significant launch point” for SDN in the enterprise, indicating those businesses that fail to get on board over the next few months risk being left behind.

Telstra’s unified product experience was developed with exactly this in mind. It leverages SDN and Network Function Virtualisation (NFV) to create a unified product experience where customers can consume instantaneous network, cloud and security in a single user experience.

Organisations that succeed in becoming early adopters stand to reap the rewards. For example, as the market is still immature they can work with providers to influence the development of SDN standards, functionality and services.

This means that their platforms are setting the industry standard, rather than following it, positioning these businesses as leaders of their industry. Businesses which choose Telstra, for instance, can get involved in an unique program which explores use cases based on the ETSI standard for NFV. NFV is able to support SDN by providing the infrastructure upon which the SDN can be run and when the two are implemented together, even greater value can and should be accrued.
Select the right partner

Selecting the right partner is one of the most important decisions organisations can take when undertaking SDN projects. For instance, software-defined networking providers born outside the legacy networking market may have a more innovative, dynamic culture than traditional vendors which might be more suited to today’s business needs. The right partner may also be open to including organisations in discussions over products and services, taking a flexible approach to costs and including early adopters in pilot programs. This will ensure the services delivered are exactly what’s needed.

Additionally, making a good selection assists businesses to avoid having to invest resources in second or third attempts at software-defined networking while seeing their competitors move ahead.

Weigh up the risk

Teams should start by investigating SDN, including trialling the products of incumbent and new vendors. As alluded to earlier, they need to conduct due diligence on their suppliers to help ensure they are complementary from a cultural and product perspective.

For an SDN project, a generic infrastructure upgrade is not enough to justify the investment. Organisations need to develop and justify cases for software-defined networks to support specific projects or initiatives. These cases should go beyond cost savings and efficiencies to include new revenue opportunities. A thorough testing program is also required to determine whether a product fulfils the vendor’s promises and is compatible with an organisation’s technology environment.

Finally, organisations need to take stock of legacy equipment and infrastructure, including associated systems and tools. Existing equipment should be run to the end of its life to minimise any risk of compromising returns on investments.

For organisations looking to innovate to remain competitive in increasingly globalised markets, SDN can provide the path to success. The architecture dispenses with many of the limitations of conventional networks and supports unlocking the potential of surging data volumes and the IoT. Those organisations that adopt a prudent approach to deploying SDN will be assisted in quickly launching new functionality and services to their customers while helping to reduce capital and operating costs.