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ONUG: 2017 Will Be the Tipping Point for SD-WAN

November 03, 2016

The Open Networking User Group at ONUG Fall 2016 proclaimed 2017 as the year in which SD-WAN solutions will go mainstream.

“2017 is going to be a really big year for this space,” Nick Lippis, co-chairman and co-founder of ONUG, explained to me in an interview yesterday.

ONUG is a user community that works to make markets that address the needs of the community. SD-WAN, Lippis said, is an overlay of the wide area network that separates the physical infrastructure from how packets are routed. That enables SD-WAN to provide users with total control of connectivity between their locations so they can match that connectivity to their specific applications at any time, he added.

Lippis credits Jimmy Kyriannis, who’s in IT at NYU, with introducing the spark that led to SD-WAN. At an ONUG board meeting in late 2012 or early 2013 Kyriannis talked about his challenges with branch offices, and many of the others at the meeting expressed that they had similar concerns, Lippis said. So the group came up with nine use cases at the meeting, the board selected the most important ones, and the group presented its findings to ONUG. What we now refer to as SD-WAN received the most votes in the ONUG community at that meeting, he added.

More recently, ONUG has launched the Open SD-WAN Exchange initiative, which is working on allowing different SD-WAN controllers from different vendors to communicate so they can establish connections between two different architectures, said Lippis. That could be helpful if two companies with two different SD-WAN suppliers merge, if different SD-WAN vendors want to come together, and for cloud providers and brokers that want to connect to various SD-WANs to deliver cloud services, Lippis explained.

At the recent ONUG Fall, which was hosted by FedEx in New York City, the group surveyed attendees and found that 65 to 66 percent have SD-WAN deployments running and the rest are in SD-WAN pilots, Lippis said, adding that ONUG thought perhaps the 60 percent deployment/40 percent pilot SD-WAN survey might not be an accurate reflection of reality. But the second survey proved that the ONUG Spring survey wasn’t an anomaly, he added “these numbers are real.”

Also at ONUG Fall the group discussed challenges large organizations face in transitioning to cloud-based open infrastructure. In fact, FedEx’s Gene Sun told that company’s story on this front.

There was also a debate on the future of open networking featuring Dr. Jennifer Rexford from Princeton University and Dr. David Cheriton of Stanford University. Cheriton discussed his expectations for the cloud-based, software-defined future with extensible software engineering principles. Rexford said open networking requires new abstraction layer and open source industry initiatives.

Various ONUG groups also provided updates on their work at the event. For example, the Open Traffic Management Format initiative is working on multivendor monitoring architecture and Open Network State Format calling for the creation of a new market for analytics applications to exploit next generation monitoring. And the community has established the ONUG Lab to promote the development of a new analytics and monitoring market. The lab will create a multivendor monitoring infrastructure that the community can use to develop analytic applications.

Edited by Maurice Nagle