Verizon today announced its long-awaited Software Defined Network (SDN) strategy, which includes almost all of its incumbent equipment suppliers but lacks details about how this strategy will be executed.
The Rayno Report told you last fall that Verizon was working on an SDN strategy as it put on vendor trials of next-generation SDN apps. What’s curious about today’s announcement is that it doesn’t reveal any special insight into its strategy and includes mostly “big guys” and telco incumbents.
The Verizon press release is here; and you can read the news story on SDXCentral here. All of the vendors that Verizon announced — which include Alcatel-Lucent, Cisco, Ericsson, Juniper, and Nokia — are large telco vendors developing SDN strategies. The Chinese vendors, Huawei and ZTE, were notably absent. But you can take a wild guess about why they were excluded.
This is a “catchup” press release designed to tell you that Verizon is in the SDN game. Last year it fell behind AT&T on the SDN marketing front, when AT&T made splashes with its Domain 2.0 strategy.
What’s notable about Verizon’s announcement is what’s missing. It includes no startups. This is unlike, say, AT&T, which announced startups such as Affirmed Networks, Metaswitch, and TailF (now owned by Cisco). AT&T has also announced a wider range of partners, including more of a mix of midsized vendors such as Brocade.
Verizon’s list includes no such players. No Affirmed, Brocade, or Metaswitch. No VMware. No Big Switch, Cumulus, or Pica8. No Dell? Each of those suppliers has been aggressively building a “white box” approach to switching and networking, and I find it bizarre that not one of them is included, because I know for a fact that some of them are involved in trials at Verizon.
The message this sends is that Verizon may be stubbornly pumping up its incumbents, while a more aggressive white-box strategy is passed up — or quietly hidden. This is neither progressive nor innovative, and it draws questions about Verizon’s SDN and Network Function Virtualization (NFV) approach.
That being said, the fact that Verizon is issuing a press release indicates that SDN is now an accepted technology strategy — rather than speculative slideware. Verizon says in the press release that it will be moving to an SDN architecture using SDN controllers and software orchestration vendors.
Verizon says it has “co-authored a comprehensive SDN network architecture document” with its partners, which includes all interface specifications and reference architectures plus requirements for both the control layer and forwarding box functions. This document is not public (but if anybody knows where to get a copy I’m waiting!).
SDN is now table stakes. Now Verizon just has to elaborate on its technology. I would not expect this list of companies to remain static at all. There is far more going on behind the scenes.