The development of the SDN ecosystem and the move to production networks has also increased the requirements that an SDN solution has to fulfill. SDN solutions deployed in production networks need to adapt to network realities. Operators today run multi-layer networks, and provide services using resources across multiple network domains. To be deployed in such environments, SDN solutions need to support multi-layer, multi-vendor operations, ideally with a level of legacy support. Also, SDN in multi-vendor environments requires SDN domain controllers to be implemented consistently, within each vendor’s domain, with open APIs; relying on traditional NMS in one of the domains effectively slows down the overarching solution to the lowest common denominator.
Production-ready SDN also needs to extend its functionality across all phases of the network lifecycle – from planning and deployment, to management and operations. SDN solutions also need to seamlessly integrate into the operator’s operational environment – open API programmability is necessary to achieve this. Finally, with telcos increasingly converging network and IT operations, and deploying cloud-native software and infrastructure to further increase operational efficiencies, SDN solutions ideally need to be developed using a cloud-native software base to leverage elastically scalable cloud resources (CPU, memory, connectivity).