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SDN and NFV—What can an NREN offer?

SDN and NFV—What can an NREN offer?

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Keynote to the Future Internet Forum in Athens in March 2014. Presents current opportunities and challenges of SDN for (national) research and education network operators. Outlines NREN's peculiar context between academic institutions, researchers, and vendors. Suggests to leverage the hype around SDN for setting up collaborative community fora, and to look for innovation potential at the "fringes" (as opposed to the mainstream) of the SDN wave. Closes by outlining a few issues with testbeds in general.

Keynote to the Future Internet Forum in Athens in March 2014. Presents current opportunities and challenges of SDN for (national) research and education network operators. Outlines NREN's peculiar context between academic institutions, researchers, and vendors. Suggests to leverage the hype around SDN for setting up collaborative community fora, and to look for innovation potential at the "fringes" (as opposed to the mainstream) of the SDN wave. Closes by outlining a few issues with testbeds in general.

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SDN and NFV—What can an NREN offer?

  1. 1. SDN and NFV What can an NREN offer? Musings from an NREN insider and former network ops guy FIA Athens, 18 March 2014 Simon Leinen simon.leinen@switch.ch
  2. 2. © 2014 SWITCH • NRENs are very innovative! • As are all of you here; So what does it mean, specifically? • Can we compete with well-funded corporate research? No. • Can we compete with a vibrant startup scene? No. • Can we compete with academia, our own customers? No. But: We can create spaces for innovation for these communities. • There are other ways we can be innovative, but those are not my focus here. NRENs and Innovation 2
  3. 3. © 2014 SWITCH HEI Run reliable, inexpensive fast LAN Keep on top of new trends Save by NFV’ing firewalls, load balancers etc.? NREN Run reliable, inexpensive fast WAN Support innovation Support research(ers) Researcher Do exciting and fundable research Have impact • publications • practice Work with operators Vendor Sell to HEIs (as enterprises), NREN Develop new solutions for broader market Trial/demo novel products Stakeholder Concerns 3
  4. 4. © 2014 SWITCH “Hype” is not a bad thing! It’s just a vehicle for an entire industry to have a debate on (disruptive) innovation options –“Networking is Cool Again ” (Padmasree Warrior, Cisco CTO) To the engineers among us: Put your BS detectors on mute, ignore the overblown promises, enjoy the ride! The SDN Hype 4 http://blogs.cisco.com/news/networking-is-cool-againand-thats-good-for-cisco/
  5. 5. © 2014 SWITCH –Practitioners (e.g. HEI IT) look for guidance –Scientists bring their visions into a broader conversation • Hoping to make an impact (and increase fundability of research) –Vendors willing to try many new approaches Hype as an Opportunity for Collaboration 5
  6. 6. © 2014 SWITCH • Researchers and uni ICT folks in one room – rare occurrence! • Lots of good discussions, but concerns clearly different • Next challenge: constructively add vendors to the mix… Hype-ortunistic SDN Workshop 6 actual water cooler Kurt Baumann, our SDN guy
  7. 7. © 2014 SWITCH • The “success” of SDN-as-a-vision creates new inroads for radical approaches to networking –This is an advantage of the loosely-defined “SDN” notion –Both researchers and innovative operators can and should jump on this opportunity Hype Broadens Field of View 7
  8. 8. © 2014 SWITCH • Leverage Commodity CPUs and do software networking –Layer 2 VPN at edge over IP(v6, of course) –using high-performance user-space Snabb Switch –practical benefit: MPLS no longer required in backbone • CDNFV –Offer short-term VMs to commercial Content Delivery Networks (CDNs) for usage peaks • Greenfield IaaS “clouds” – NREN’s next frontier? –SDN for internal networking –SDN for high-capacity site-to-backbone boundary –SDN for “Virtual Private Data Center” –Can build on Open Source implementations, e.g. OpenStack Neutron Opportunities at the Fringes 8
  9. 9. © 2014 SWITCH Common reaction of NRENs faced with new net tech <foo>: Let’s build a <foo> testbed! ⊕We know how to build networks! ⊕By keeping separate, won’t break Production Network ⊖Who’s the customer? Is this what researchers really want? ⊖Should it demonstrate or support <foo>? ⊖Risk of seeing the testbed as and end rather than a means ⊖Path to production? Often limited impact (for virtually unbounded effort) But if done right, can be really useful! – e.g. PlanetLab, 6net The Problem With Testbeds 9

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