SDNs Will Transform the Delivery of IT Services

By Michael Vizard  |  Print this article Print
software-defined networks

SDN will offer opportunities for solution providers willing to invest in the programming skills needed to manage them, but the global arena will be competitive.

When it comes to the channel, the open-source networking community needs to become a lot more proactive in terms of reaching out, said Neela Jacques, executive director for Project OpenDaylight within The Linux Foundation. "We need to do more training with channel partners," Jacques said. "And we have not begun to address things like market development funds [MDFs]."

For solution providers, open-source SDN could mean that the number of vendors they might need to support in the brave new world of SDN could be substantially higher. As costly as that may seem, however, SDN in general also brings more opportunity. As the network becomes programmable, so too does the application stack that runs above it. Solution providers should find it much easier to take advantage of application programming interfaces to deliver a much wider variety of managed services almost anywhere in the world.

For example, Sify Technologies Ltd., a provider of managed services in India, is now setting up shop in the United States to take advantage of that very opportunity. Sify Technologies Chairman Raju Vegesna said the rise of SDN allows the MSP to come to the U.S. under a new business model that no longer needs to be tied to a traditional time and materials approach to delivering IT services.

"The IT services world is changing," Vegesna said. "We're not a systems integrator. We're a services provider; so from that perspective, we have nothing to lose."

As is often the case with any major technology advances, SDN will cut both ways in the channel. They definitely will expand the service opportunities for solution providers willing to invest in acquiring the programming skills needed to manage them. At the same time, however, because SDN makes it possible to deliver those services globally, competition across the channel is clearly about to become fiercer than ever.

Michael Vizard has been covering IT issues in the enterprise for 25 years as an editor and columnist for publications such as InfoWorld, eWEEK, Baseline, CRN, ComputerWorld and Digital Review.