Winning in the Era of Cloud and IoT with Insight-driven SDN

The answer to restored profitability lies in insight-driven network automation, as enabled by carrier SDN.

The new model hinges on a tremendous array of information that is collected by the network on flow-level attributes and vulnerabilities. Analytics converts that information into insights that can then be used to dynamically program and optimize the network infrastructure and achieve the best outcomes. In this way, operators gain fuller life cycle automation for agile operations.

With insight-driven carrier SDN, traffic flows can be redirected, new IP/optical paths established, and existing IP/optical paths can be resized dynamically. The assurance capability sets the policies and parameters that trigger dynamic decisions and automated actions.

This automated, dynamic characteristic of policy-driven service fulfillment is important to meet the fluctuations characteristic of on-demand cloud-based services. Moreover, it keeps operational overhead down and accelerates the time to market for new services, making operators more responsive to rapid shifts in market demands.

How is this being used?  Insight-driven agility is helping operators improve the services they offer around cloud and IoT applications. Integrated analytics within the operator’s carrier SDN controller provides streaming telemetry to help solve the traffic engineering problem of keeping pace with the rapidly changing demand and traffic patterns of the cloud and IoT world. Telemetry data provides insights into where the network is causing flows to approach SLAs thresholds. The carrier SDN controller then maps flows with higher SLA requirements to paths in the network where there is more bandwidth or less latency. This is particularly useful for insight into peering optimization for web-scale peering partners or content-delivery networks (CDNs), ensuring quality of experience for OTT applications or global content provider applications out of distributed data centers.

Insight-driving agility also plays a large role in content distribution and delivery. Traffic patterns can change dramatically day by day, depending on what’s going on. Unicast video may be operating smoothly one day, but suffer the next as it has to compete for select paths with the latest Game of Thrones episode released on the multicast service, or a surge in popularity of a new World of Warcraft game release. Engineering to statistical peaks based on a 60 percent utilization level no longer makes economic sense. Operators make optimal use of their available bandwidth by moving impacted applications and service flows before they experience serious service degradation.

Agility is also critical to ensuring the network stays safe from external threats. When used in combination with a smart IP network fabric that allows finer-grain control with greater scale, carrier SDN combined with external multidimensional analytics can provide anti-DDoS protection for the network.

Insight Driven Automated Networking 
See Figure 1.Insight-Driven Automated Networking

For example, DDoS attack mitigation may require the filtering of hundreds of thousands, or perhaps millions, of harmful flows to protect vulnerable infrastructure services and customer assets.

Operators have a unique opportunity. With carrier SDN, analytics and dynamic assurance, they are able to offer superior services to both web-scale firms and enterprises generally. The key to winning in the cloud and IoT era is to become an agile operator with insight-driven automated networking.


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