Thursday, May 30, 2013

SDN and Network abstraction

SDN and network abstraction is a very interesting topic since it will have the same effect than amazon web services had on IT virtualization. 

I believe that network virtualization is clearly on its way and is getting the maturity needed for more widespread expansion; the acquisition of Nicira by VMware is a good example of that.

For the network abstraction it will be tricky to define what is the equivalent of the AWS specifications for cloud computing, but we can try by first decomposing the different resources the network virtualization implements. Three different aspects of the network can help this decomposition:.
  • Network as a set of computing resources will be about the same resources as the one exposed by amazon specifications: computing, storage, queuing ... however the attributes of these resources are different: more distributed, lower latency, limited quotas, etc. Using base station computing to recreate a massively distributed EC2 implementation will have a clear effect on latency to mobile devices..
  • Network as a facilitator of accessing/supporting cloud computing resources will be about how the current cloud solutions can use the network to work better: E2E QoS (including control of the bandwidth and latency), connection (a mix of network and OTT approach on how to handle push/pull events to and from devices)... are the type of resources that need to be exposed. Better cloud service to cloud service interactions on one side and better power management on devices will two aspects that will be impacted by the availability of such resources.
  • Network as specific resources will be about the more classic view the network has to offer: communication intent (between entities: users/devices...), identity, metering/rating are the type of resources the network we agree used or should be used to see. I am mentioning communication intent instead of messaging or call control (see previous posts...). 

The combination of these three aspects will finally allow us to really implement device as a service and this not only for user to service via device interactions (mobile or not), but also device to device or device to service interactions (two different forms of M2M).

Now what we need to avoid is the confusion between network virtualization and network abstraction (cloud) since both are two different approaches of the situation. Virtualization is generally a bottom up approach while abstraction (cloud) is a top down approach. Both needs to work together to achieve the same goal...

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