Ronny Lam

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Microsoft Releases Lync API for SDN

I was pretty excited yesterday when the news came out that Microsoft is releasing a Lync API for SDN. Which is the result of a successful proof of concept earlier this year. Not that I am a big Microsoft fan, but the concept can be translated into other solutions.

HP and Microsoft demo

The concept is very simple. The SDN controller has full visibility of the network and the Lync server has full knowledge of communication devices. When Lync clients setup a connection and try to set CoS/QoS tags, the Lync server can authorize these markings. Other markings of this kind will be removed when packets access the network. Other possibilities are real-time traffic engineering for these flows.

Translating this concept to other technologies is interesting. Of course there are the known real-time protocols, like VoIP and video-services. But this can also count for other kind of services like storage, backup and applications. Flows through the network can be authenticated and dynamically optimized. You can even go a step further and enable this kind of things for OTT-providers such as Netflix. Of course the latter will hold another challenge, which is that an SP-network must be SDN-driven and must trust third parties to dynamically configure their network.

As a reader of my blog you already know that I am an SDN skeptic. Not that I don’t believe in the solution itself. Just that I doubt the maturity of the protocol and vendors, together with the risk that customers are willing to take to invest in SDN. It is these kind of business enabling proof of concepts that will convince customers of the value of SDN, which in effect enables investments in SDN.

2014 will be the year of very serious business driven proof of concepts, which will accelerate transitioning networks from hardware driven to software defined.