The building of programmable networks lies in the domain of Software Defined Networking, commonly referred to as SDN. In a keynote at the Interop NY conference Stephen Alexander, SVP and CTO at networking vendor Ciena said that he sees SDN as a tremendous tool in building the networks of the future.
Ciena offers its own programmable network construct, OPn. That acronym stands for “Optical Packet to the ‘n’ scale.”
SDN is about taking back control in a way that makes the network an enabler, rather than a limiting factor. As a metaphor for how the programmable network should work, Alexander took a page from the smartphone revolution. He said that if you need a stopwatch feature today, you don’t go out and buy a new watch. Instead, you just get a stopwatch app for your phone. In his view, network platform programmability should work the same way.
“SDN is wildly hyped right now, but I think that it could actually be under-hyped,” Alexander said. “I really think that it can be the most transformative thing we’ve come across in decades.”