Why ONUG Has It Right

ONUG_v2I recently got back from spending two days at the Open Networking User Group (ONUG) conference in New York. Kudos to Credit Suisse for hosting the event and to ONUG leadership for organizing it. It was exciting to meet forward-thinking IT leaders and hear about their need for an open networking standard.

Nick Lippis, co-chair of ONUG, brought this point home in his talk. One of his slides reported that more than 60 percent of organizations indicated that they needed at least one network engineer per 400 network devices. By contrast, one systems engineer can manage 10,000 VMs. Clearly, the network hasn’t kept up.

This was made particularly clear in ONUG’s work on the WAN. Software-Defined WAN (SD-WAN) is emerging as one of ONUG’s most pressing and concrete use-cases. The ONUG SD-WAN white paper is thought provoking and insightful, driven by marquee organizations, such as Bank of America, Gap, and FedEx.

Why do these IT leaders care so much about the WAN? Because they understand that if business is to continue to ride the benefits promised by virtualization, SDN and the cloud then there must be a solid foundation for those efforts. The WAN is that foundation, and business needs to be more:

  • Responsive – Business cannot afford to wait for 90 days while the service provider provisions an MPLS circuit.
  • Predictable –The WAN needs to be able to compensate for network problems and deliver a more consistent, predictable user experience.
  • Resilient – WANs must become reliable, detecting and fixing or isolating physical problems, routing around failures in the network before applications are impacted.
  • Cost Effective – Internet bandwidth prices have fallen, but private networks continue to be incredibly costly.

By leveraging ubiquitous Internet links from multiple providers with an automated control plane, enterprises are able to realize all of those benefits. Costs decrease while availability, reliability and visibility increase.

ONUG’s work is playing an important role in the development of the SD-WAN. Check out the Top 10 Requirements of SD-WAN and see for yourself.

This post is part of an ongoing series examining the issues facing enterprises seeking to implement a Software-Defined WAN (SD-WAN) solution, as addressed in the Open Networking User Group white paper, “ONUG Software-Defined WAN Use Case”.

About the author
Damon Ennis
Damon is senior vice president of products for Silver Peak. He has more than 15 years experience building enterprise and service-provider networking equipment. Most recently, he served as senior director of systems engineering and chief technologist at CIENA. Prior to CIENA, Damon was in senior management and technical roles at FORE Systems. He grew up in Northern Ireland, Germany, Iran, Switzerland, England, Wales, and East and West Coasts in the US. He’s the father of one boy and twin girls.