The third and last day of the SDN World Forum was a short one for me because of the flight back. The conference itself was more of the same, this time with a bit more focus on the architecture models and how to get SDN and NFV from the research and development fase into real solutions. One question from an analyst in the audience answered it al: how many operators have SDN or NFV in their production networks? The answer was zero; there some enterprises, besides the named OTT providers, that have implemented it, but operator wise it is still not in production. Words are that the current available hardware is not yet carrier-grade, but that is not confirmed.
From an architectural model everybody is talking about the decoupling of the data-plane and the control-plane. Provisioning of the latter, through the controller, provides the ability to deliver services in the network. There is however no word about the management-plane. Physical switches have to be mounted in the network and have to be connected to create a topology, bare-metal has te be provisioned and maintained. Of course that can still be done by hand, just like most operators are currently doing, but this was not the goal of SDN.
The orchestration layer on top of the network has not only got to do with managing services, connecting to the OSS/BSS, but also with the infrastructure itself. That might be a separate orchestration layer. In three of the presentations I have seen this week from operators challenges arrive at the start of implementing SDN when there is still a traditional network in production. Hybrid network provisioning is a challenge for tools coming in from the world of SDN. Coming from the other side, having solved the traditional provisioning already it is much more easy to integrate and migrate to SDN.