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Hybrid Challenge. OpenFlow Solution.

May 30, 2013
Rick Bauer
Rick Bauer About the author

The OpenFlow® protocol offers a dynamic and cost-effective foundation for hybrid cloud services.

Helping organizations to understand the full spectrum of OpenFlow® use cases, the Open Networking Foundation (ONF) is offering a series of solution briefs highlighting unique applications of the OpenFlow® protocol. One of these solution briefs, discussing OpenFlow-enabled hybrid cloud services and their ability to connect enterprise and service provider data centers, addresses the difficulties associated with these services and describes the OpenFlow® protocol as the solution.

A challenge faced by enterprises using hybrid cloud, a combination of public and private cloud, is costly overprovisioning to account for the bandwidth peaks surrounding storage or virtual machine transactions. The use of OpenFlow-based Software-Defined Networking (SDN) offers the framework and tools to enable dynamic capacity matching driven by the cost-benefit ratio of hybrid cloud service fulfillment. This application ultimately enables customers to:

  • Choose best-in-class vendors, while avoiding vendor lock-in
  • Select from a wider variety of access technologies
  • Access dynamic bandwidth for agile, timely inter-data center workload migration and processing
  • Ease or eliminate the burden of underutilized, costly, high-capacity fixed private line leases.

To support hybrid clouds, carriers and service providers face challenges as well. Fixed-capacity services typically offered by carriers have made remote provisioning anything but dynamic, which results in a more complicated (and more expensive) flexibly-priced data connection service. Delays are also experienced between the user request and the delivered service. However, carriers and service providers can free up and market underutilized bandwidth with OpenFlow-enabled software-defined networks, ultimately resulting in:

  • Faster time-to-market for new services with an accelerated adoption cycle and attach rate
  • More competitive positioning through SDN-enabled bandwidth-on-demand services and more dynamic response to infrastructure and application demands
  • Provisioning automation and intelligence, driven by cloud service orchestration logic
  • Improved customer retention through value-added hybrid cloud services.

To learn more about this particular use case of SDN and the OpenFlow® protocol, please read the ONF solution brief, “OpenFlow-Enabled Hybrid Cloud Services Connect Enterprise and Service Provider Data Centers.”

- Rick Bauer, Technical Program Manager

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Rick Bauer