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Everything changes but you

What do boy bands have to do with Enterprise Networking?

No, I'm not a fan of generic boy bands. And if I'm honest I can't stand boy band music. It's a tried and tested 'bubble gum' pop formula for playing to the audience only sticking to a well-defined template. Sounds a bit like enterprise networking right? Tried, tested, stodgy, unimaginative and often constraining.

And the generic lyrics, that always includes words like "baby", "love", "you" -- are some of the first things that pops into my head when I think about MPLS. The 'you' being MPLS -- everything changes but MPLS. Its 19 years since the first commercial deployments of MPLS, just take a moment to think about the evolution of technology in that time-frame.

If you're an ICT leader trying to enable your business in an ever changing market I bet you're fed up with statements like 'it will take months to change the configuration', 'sorry we can't reduce our bandwidth and save money, we're contracted for five years' and 'it will take three months to order, ship and install that router / firewall/a..n...other network function' <sigh.>

What if we could reimagine the network? Not just the core network but everything that the network touches including; other networks, clouds, data centres, network functions, branch site equipment and the internet.

This is my vision for software defined networking. Nothing short of the re-imagination of the ENTIRE network experience. Many play at the edges offering services with L2 bandwidth on demand, virtualized branch networking or SD-WAN. But the really hard part is orchestrating all of those components into a single unifying experience available in real-time. And why is that important? Well it's the lowest common denominator challenge, you need all of those components to deliver production ready solutions; time to deploy is defined by the component which takes the longest to deliver.

Let me share an example of the power of an end-to-end platform. Imagine you're a retailer and you want to deploy Point of Sale software from the cloud to support expansion into a new territory.

Spin up a connection from your existing network to the local AWS in the new region (check); spin up an internet gateway for local access in the new region (check); spin up a virtual firewall and configure it (check); spin up proactive monitoring of the solution (check); and spin up a connection back to your datacentre for data backup (check.) All deployable from one digital interface and deployable in under 10 minutes on a global basis.

Stick that in your pipe and smoke it you old cumbersome enterprise network!

Software defined networking has a profound impact on networking. Its tentacles will reach through multiple service provider networks allowing customers to connect networks dynamically, it will reach into every datacentre and cloud and it will reach into the OEM vendor's inventory of network functions and push / pull them dynamically into your Data Centre or your branch. All on-demand, all on a PAYG basis. Now add sophisticated cloud management and security operations features and world of ICT suddenly seems like a smaller place from your virtual control centre.

I'm pleased to say generic boy bands come and go... and some have remained old news. It might take a bit longer with enterprise networks, but over the next few months I hope to demonstrate to you how all of this is possible and how the Programmable Network is real and it's here to stay.

Read more on Telstra Programmable Network to avoid a 'bubble gum' pop type of network.