SDN Resolution to boost Internet’s agility

A weekend full of concentrated work in ad-hoc and drafting groups has resulted in the adoption of new Resolutions, the latest targeting Software-defined Networking (see earlier article on an e-waste Resolution).

Pending WTSA-12 Plenary approval, the new Resolution on Software-defined Networking (SDN) instructs ITU-T Study Group 13 (Future Networks including mobile and NGN) to expand and accelerate its work in the SDN domain.

In the world of computer networking, 2012 saw few terms gain as much traction as SDN. As new devices and users have connected and traffic figures continue to rise, networks have become increasingly complex, error-prone and difficult to manage. Thus, in the interests of greater speed and flexibility in routing instructions, security and energy management of network equipment such as routers and switches, SDN proposes to decouple the control and data planes and allow for programmable interfaces to these planes, i.e. letting software do the job traditionally performed by the control plane.

In some ways, SDN resembles the basic principles of cloud computing that have led to flexibility, cost efficiency and manageability of computation and storage resources through virtualization.

SDN emerged from Stanford University in 2009 and the standards formulated around it are maintained by the Open Networking Foundation (ONF).

During the last study period (2009-12) ITU-T Study Group 13 initiated two SDN work items (SDN framework for carrier networksrequirements of formal specification and verification methods for SDN) and more are soon expected to emerge, alongside corresponding work in other ITU-T study groups. SDN was a hot topic at last week’s CTO meeting, where high-level industry representatives recommended that ITU-T collaborate with academia and relevant forums such as ONF, and that it conduct studies into the impact of SDN for developing countries.

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