Paul Stewart from PacketU wrote an intriguing article on why SDN seems to be gaining momentum faster than IPv6. Paul made some good points on the matter, and I couldn't help but have this lingering thought in the back of my mind. The entire article could have been summed up with this line: It's all about the money. Regardless of the scenarios you play out in your head, nobody will adopt something as a technology if it doesn't make money or save money. It ALWAYS comes back to the money. Let me give you a few examples.
- An organization allows their users to telecommute. Is it because the company wants the employee to have greater flexibility and a more time with their family? No way. It's because it reduces the expenses that a company incurs by having an office full of people using all it's resources.
A company develops SDN hardware/software/services and jumps on the band wagon of touting SDN as the next best thing. Is it because SDN “is” the next best thing? No again. It's because the company thinks they can make a profit off selling the new hardware/software/services.
An online content delivery company adds support for IPv6 content delivery. Is it because IPv6 is the way of the future? Nope. It's because they want to capture the customer that is on IPv6 rather than IPv4.
Personally, it's hard for me to look at things without considering the “whats in it for party x,y, or z?” aspect of things. And yes, I believe there are still a few companies and individuals that want to provide a great product to a customer and really care about the people. But this is not the majority. We'd be fooling ourselves to think that any technology advances because it's awesome? It advances because someone can make or save some money by selling it or using it.
Paul made the following statement in his article:
When looking at why SDN seems to be gaining momentum faster than IPv6, we have to think about the people and groups involved.
He then expands on this…
IPv6 requires investments by almost everyone in technology. This includes service providers, consumers, and enterprises and they must address changes to equipment, protocols, applications, operating systems, and processes. This inclusion and implicit agreement of all disciplines in IT create a significant challenge for widespread adoption.
Yep- it's a significant challenge because there is an investment involved and very little ROI. However relating to SDN Paul writes:
There would typically be no need for modifications to user applications or worldwide acceptance of the newly implemented methods. This creates the possibility for incremental investment and payback potential within individual organizations or business units.
There it is. SDN offers incremental investment and payback potential, the things that a CFO likes to hear.
Paul was spot on with his assessment of IPv6 vs. SDN, and the only reason I bring this up is because anyone looking to make it in IT needs to be able to identify where to focus their skills if they want to succeed. Granted there are very successful people who are all about IPv6. That's not the point here. The point here is that you have to understand technology market drivers and translate that into your marketable IT skills. This creates a valuable prospect that will stand out in a pile of similar resumes.