When it comes to software-defined networking (SDN), much of the buzz is on reducing networking complexity and costs. Those are good but can SDN help you make money along with saving money?

Simply, yes! Here are three ways we can look at achieving that:

  • Repurpose existing services onto a SDN making them more flexible at a lower cost – you can achieve higher margins and/or expand your market reach.
  • Modify or spin up services much faster – faster time to new revenue.
  • With a lower-cost, more flexible network, promote broad application innovation in a dynamic environment creating new services and markets.

Making Money = Optimizing plus Innovating

Making money with SDNs is closely tied to saving money. To be able to take full advantage of the above approaches, you should apply SDN across your entire service infrastructure, with a clear goal of reduction in operational costs and complexity. Good abstraction models for the control plane are required. Include centralized automation and policy-driven application profiles that let customers use self-service ordering. DevOps, NetOps, and production environments should be re-evaluated based on their capacity to flexibly embrace new operational and business models.

Innovation should also include becoming more entrepreneurial; encouraging openness to new technologies and working with software developers without a lot of process baggage. A successful SDN provides you with the opportunity to open up your network environment to a broader software and applications development ecosystem; to serve and monetize a myriad of niche and mass market needs. To do so requires standard, simple, open APIs and a SDN infrastructure that can automatically assign quality of service (QoS) characteristics, security, storage, and other configuration parameters to get the service up quickly and effectively.

Making Money = Flexible Architecture and Infrastructure

The requirements of your customers vary by geography. A network topology serving subscribers in a major city may be very different from one serving rural customers. So it’s important to ensure that your SDN environment (computing, storage, network forwarding, network functions, bandwidth capacity, physical versus virtual instances together) is flexible and adaptable to handling the varied locations of a service instance and the automated turn-up or turn-down of services. Your operations control systems should be able to automatically determine in real-time or near real-time where best to place the service resources to meet the needs of the applications in use while complying with your business policies. Having a flexible architecture also serves your migration to SDN.

For more on these and other techniques to help monetize your SDN, read the Cisco® white paper “Can you Save Money and Generate New Revenue with Software Defined Networking?” or Tweet us @CiscoSP360


Wayne Cullen

Senior Manager, Service Provider Architectures