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A New Market Segment: SDN / NFV | @DevOpsSummit #DevOps #SDN #Microservices

Create a new market segment - DevOps

SDN / NFV may not be new with next-gen telcos and data centers but by 2016 it is certainly going to be the new beast in the DevOps space. It's a multi-million dollar virgin market, so it's not only those traditional OEMs that are in the fray; even the DB companies will be entering this new market. Telcos and data centers want vendor-agnostic network devices and are expected to replace all physical devices, including routers and switches, with software devices. This not only drastically brings down the PCB replacement costs and other maintenance charges but the latest release automation tools and technology of DevOps will do radical changes by reducing the overall current service provisioning time from 4-5 months to a few hours. In the near future the network administration may not be required to have niche skill sets to manage large networks because the latest zero touch release automation technology with GUI- based orchestration dashboard will do the network configuration.

Traditionally telcos are overstaffed so RA on SDN / NFV may not be a pure technology play. Rather it leads to people and process-related issues, so the software integration (SI) vendors with innovative product/ solution will be key in implementing the DevOps solution. The scope is not limited to configuring those southbound virtual software devices but also opens the doors for developing the new SDN / NFV applications to fulfill the ever-growing market needs. But they need to wait and watch that market because telcos may choose to do that in-house development or may even open the doors to public similar to the current mobile apps development and  proactive SI vendors may develop host of SDN / NFV apps to package it along with OEM controllers.

So far the only challenge is that the RA is very successful on the application layer but has yet to be tried on the network layer. In essence the opportunities are enormous because the RA for SDN / NFV is just an engine and it can be fitted to any vehicle including VLAN provisioning, Virtual management of firewalls, network functionalities management and finally since the devices are not going to be physical there will be desperate need to manage the software versions of these equipments. This industry will undergo a paradigm shift and tremendous cultural change because the traditional OEMs can't continue as a pure equipment manufacturer anymore and their sales team needs to acquire new skills to package services along with their controllers and other devices to sustain in the competing market. The ISVs and product vendors may have to reconsider the agency based pricing model to compete with OpenStack because RA for SDN/NFV are expected to configure 100's of south bound software devices on the fly by a touch of the button.

The technology adoption might get delayed slightly but it's a sure multi-million dollar market and it's a zero sum game, so the early mover will sweep the market. Telcos anddata centers need to be an early adopter or at least a fast follower to sustain. I see the market potential and the compelling value proposition for telcos and data centers to buy these solution but surprisingly we are yet to see that level of traction among the SI vendors and the industry at large, may be because the network is not so obviously visible :-) but I believe it's not so early to create this new market segment.

More Stories By Ramesh Ganapathy

26+ years of IT experience with major IT servicing companies. Done DevOps digital transformation with Fortune 2000 companies. Functional experience includes large account management, technical sales, innovative product development & IP commercialization. Domain experience includes Banking and finance, Auto and Aerospace, TTL, M&E & Energy. Academic Qualifications: Master of Science, Software Systems, BITS, Pilani, India Bachelor of Engineering, Computer science and Engineering, TCE, TN, India Advanced Master’s Program in Management of Global Enterprise (AMPM) IIM Bangalore UCLA, Center for International Business Education and Research (CIBER) Anderson School of Business Los Angeles, USA, SDA Bocconi-School of Management, Italy Mannheim Business School (MBS) in Germany College of Business, City University of Hong Kong at Hong Kong/ Shenzhen, China.

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