Software-Defined Networks, or SDNs, have arrived, and they are beginning to shake up telecom business models and create new opportunities. Here’s our quick assessment of the four major categories of SDN we see:
- Large Incumbent SDN — This is the SDN model that’s been oversold in the past few years. It’s the vision that integrators and network equipment providers would build orchestration engines to lord over the vast legacy and modern networks of large incumbents — and operate them profitably. This particular SDN model is fast losing support because:
- Incumbents now realize legacy networks are far too complex and costly to orchestrate on a grand scale;
- Nobody wants to spend big money integrating on-net circuits when nimble MSPs make a nice profit on WANs built from bountiful wholesale assets; and,
- Constantly-refreshed network asset and competitive intelligence software is available for incumbents from firms like Connected2Fiber. These tools enable incumbents to profitably plug-in wholesale assets into their WAN designs.
- Nimble MSP SDN — The second category of SDN models is employed by MSP/hybrid providers like GTT and Masergy. At these firms, automation and profitable control over networks is so integral to their businesses that they don’t even advertising them as “SDN.” And part of their success is the relative simplicity of their model: they couple: 1) wholesale relationships with hundreds of access partners and 2) 100% on-net backbones.
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