Networking, Not Money, Makes the World Go Round

How SDN is changing the playing field for the financial services industry

By Stu Benington, Vice President of Cloud and SDN Business Unit, Coriant

The ever increasing demand for greater network capacity is nowhere more apparent than in the financial services industry which has some of the most complex networks in the world. It would be safe to say that a microsecond delay can spell the difference between profit and loss. Soon, however, the limitations of traditional static transport architectures will be superseded by a promising new technology – software-defined networking (SDN). While still in a formative stage from an implementation perspective, SDN will soon play a critical role in enabling service providers to create a more efficient, agile and scalable transport infrastructure capable of meeting the demands of even the most demanding of financial industry networks.

Financial industry networks have hundreds of connections to trading floors and information feeds. In a network, they need low latency to support rapid trading, multiple branch connections for fast data access and robust disaster recovery. Flexibility in network resources is needed to adapt instantly in response to the market. In order to meet these challenges, SDN doesn’t just make the network more efficient but fundamentally changes the network paradigm. SDN creates an application-centric service delivery model that is capable of on-demand agility, flexible performance parameters and seamless scalability.

Enabling the SDN transformation

SDN comes in many forms. One of the easiest to understand is SDN used in optical networking. In optical networking, there are switches in charge of processing and redirecting the incoming light streams of data. Instead of control functions being built into the hardware, with SDN the control functions are designed with broader and more flexible functionality as part of the controlling software. Many network operators are already preparing for SDN. They are in the process of migrating their networks from Time-Division Multiplexing (TDM) to Ethernet fabrics as part of the transition to a packet optical transport infrastructure.

SDN benefits: programmability, openness and integration

The wealth of benefits offered by SDN will see it quickly become a core part of the foundation of any efficient, adaptive network. If a network is programmable then you have a much faster mode of introducing and altering services. You can make it fully adaptable to the changing needs of end users, network operators and the applications themselves. Software-defined programmability and the automation of network resources will enable service providers to unlock bandwidth-on-demand, schedule bandwidth, etc.; adapt to real time network changes (e.g., virtual machine migration); and reduce overall network complexity and more efficiently use network resources at the lowest cost.

As the majority of current networks are built on 20-year-old legacy technology, (TDM technology dates back to the 1960s) they are often closed off and restrictive. Packet optical transport infrastructure networks are multi-vendor and multi-technology by nature and they therefore, depend on standards-based protocols to enable interoperability at the physical layer. SDN makes it possible to administer multi-vendor networks and architectures with an open and collaborative software-based development process that is focused on end-user applications and optimized for enhanced-network programmability.

As end-user services and applications move to cloud networks, it becomes increasingly important to provide agile and efficient integration of compute and storage resources. These resources must be made available across multiple geographies, such as access, metro and the core network. SDN can play an important role in harmonizing capabilities across this broad range of resources, enabling a true end-to-end global view of the network.

Time to get onboard

Financial organizations should adopt the right infrastructure elements and begin to implement SDN as soon as they are able. Well-prepared organizations will realize the benefits sooner and gain a competitive advantage.

Stuart Benington is Vice President of the Cloud/SDN Business Unit at Coriant where he is responsible for leading the business unit, including strategy and R&D, focused on software defined networking (SDN), network virtualization and cloud connectivity. To learn more about SDN, contact Stu at: Stuart.Benington@Coriant.com.

About Coriant

Coriant’s end-to-end portfolio of intelligent multi-layer transport solutions enables network operators and enterprise businesses to reduce network complexity, improve network utilization and increase service velocity. Our low latency, secure and highly reliable product portfolio includes smart edge and core routers, multiservice aggregation switching and transport solutions powered by software-defined networking intelligence, automation and control addresses a broad range of networking requirements such as datacenter interconnectivity, disaster recovery and network consolidation. Learn more about Coriant at: www.Coriant.com.

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