Virtualization Featured Article

Hutchinson CTO Encourages NFV, SDN Adoption

March 01, 2017

The distributed nature of networking makes it a bit of a challenge to virtualize and automate. So if this infrastructure hasn’t been transformed as quickly as that in the server and storage industries, that’s probably why.

However, networking is undergoing a transformation. And network functions virtualization and software-defined networking are now at a point that makes it possible to pull the trigger on that network transformation.

That’s the word from Stephen Hampton, chief technology officer for Hutchinson Networks, in a recent Cisco blog.

“Up until now, I have defended the right of the networking industry to take a little longer to solve these challenges,” said Hampton. “However, now in 2017, both SDN and NFV have matured, and there is no longer an excuse.”

Hampton urged those in the networking arena, should they still be on the fence after this firm talking to, with this final admonition: “If your network is not software defined, then it is legacy.”

And while legacy is a good thing when it comes to things like universities, sororities, and fraternities, it’s become something of a dirty word in the networking world. That’s because legacy networks are generally considered expensive, inflexible, and unable to support innovation in internet time.

                  Image via Bigstock

By comparison, SDN allows for more dynamic and automated network configuration. It even enables network operators to provide their customers with the ability to set up their own services and preferences on the fly. And with NFV network functions live in the network – and move around with it – as software, rather than being married to specialized hardware.

That’s why carriers like Hutchinson Networks are embracing NFV and SDN. In fact, Hampton said his company was an early adopter of SDN, which it uses to support its public cloud infrastructure-as-a-service platform. The service provider also employs NFV for its Layer 4 through 7 functionality, using hardware only for physical network connectivity, disk arrays, and raw compute, he said.

Not everybody is moving as quickly with NFV and SDN as Hutchinson Networks, of course. But those who haven’t yet at least begun to consider automation, NFV, and SDN, Hampton noted, “are placing themselves at least five years behind the curve and closing the door on private cloud.”

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