The networking industry is spending considerable time and resources on openness and virtualization, but less attention has been paid to an essential capability, required to unleash the full potential of future networks: intelligence. The new Intelligent Open Networking (IOPN) awards have been created to encourage initiatives adding intelligence to open networking.
Plenty of Open Networking Initiatives
Everyone in the networking and telecom industry is working on some kind of SDN or NFV project, either developing a new product or preparing a new service offering. The networking industry is full of initiatives – including the Open Networking Foundation (ONF) promoting SDN; OpenDaylight working on a common SDN platform to make networks interoperable and programmable; and OPNFV accelerating NFV adoption through an integrated, open source platform.
There are clear reasons for this massive shift toward open networking. There is a shared vision in the industry that future networks will be built using components linked by interfaces. Standards and open source projects will form the framework of the new, open network architecture. There will also be a shift in value from closed software and hardware to maintenance and support of open source software, standards-based hardware, and value-added commercial extensions.
For components from different suppliers to work, they need to be interlinked with standardized interfaces defined in standards organizations such as ETSI and IETF. In addition, the new component-based architecture will be structured around open source software – such as OpenStack as a resource orchestrator or OpenDaylight as a network controller. In this way, pragmatic and community-driven open source development will complement the slower and more formal standardization process.
What are the benefits of this new network architecture for enterprises and service providers?
- Technical flexibility: interchangeable component products, efficient blend of open source and commercial products
- Commercial flexibility: fast and easy deployment of new services, optimized costs
Open Networking Is Good, but Is There Enough Intelligence?
While the industry is spending considerable time and resources on openness and virtualization of networks, the time has come to add crucial capabilities such as intelligence. This intelligence can come in different forms, but all forms of intelligence will be crucial to unleash the full potential of open networking: subscriber intelligence, application intelligence, security intelligence, business intelligence, network intelligence…
- Efficient chaining of services can only work with a combination of application intelligence and subscriber intelligence.
- Orchestration of open and virtualized networks will not work without built-in intelligence about network traffic, server loads, and compute power.
- Policy and security applications need intelligence as an input for traffic shaping, quality of service, and access control.
Network intelligence, in particular, plays a key role in strengthening open networks, thanks to accurate visibility and real-time understanding of network traffic. The explosive volume in IP traffic and the virtualization of infrastructure can lead to performance issues, security gaps, and loss of revenue. Network intelligence provides the necessary information about data sources, content, and context, which is required to improve network operations, expand services, and protect assets. With the introduction of virtualization, network intelligence is becoming even more essential inside SDN and NFV architectures to enable application awareness and accelerate value-added service implementation.
Enter the IOPN Awards: Encouraging Intelligence + Open Networking
The new Intelligent Open Networking (IOPN) awards recognize a crucial combination to make tomorrow’s networks successful: openness and intelligence – for a detailed understanding of what’s going on within open, virtualized environments.
The IOPN Awards were created by the Network Intelligence Alliance (NI Alliance), an industry organization promoting collaboration among vendors of products or solutions based on network intelligence. Award entries are open to service providers, systems integrators, and vendors of network products or solutions. They are free of charge.
The IOPN Awards 2016 will recognize excellence in three categories:
- Best innovation combining intelligence with open networking
- Best proof of concept (PoC) combining intelligence with open networking
- Best service or solution combining intelligence with open networking
Award entries will be judged by independent analysts from Heavy Reading, ABI Research, and HIS/Infonetics. Winners will be announced during Mobile World Congress 2016 during the IOPN Awards Evening on Tuesday, February 23.
- Do you believe that intelligence is crucial for open networking?
- Are you working on a relevant PoC, product, or service?
Apply now: http://www.iopnawards.org/nominate/. Deadline for application is Friday, February 12.