Network transformation using software defined networking (SDN) and network functions virtualization (NFV) solutions is a hot topic of discussion in the IT world. But, like most professionals involved with this technology, I’ve been wanting to see more working examples of SDN and NFV in action. A recent engagement with Nasdaq gave us an opportunity to perform proof-of-concept testing, and, working together, we were able to demonstrate that the underlying concepts are sound. Our Intel team collaborated with an engineering team at Nasdaq to develop a model infrastructure using virtualized components to support Nasdaq’s electronic marketplace for buying and selling securities. Meeting the network demands of the frenetic electronic trading industry effectively requires agility, high performance, and low latency response times and Nasdaq found good reason to explore SDN and NFV solutions to achieve their goals. The engagement with Intel demonstrated that open-source components and the latest SDN and NFV technologies can be used successfully in commercial deployments. These technologies have matured to the point where the benefits are now accessible, available, and deployable on standard, high-volume server platforms based on Intel® architecture.
The Rapid Evolution of the Technologies
The evolution of SDN and NFV solutions has progressed much more quickly than predicted by industry observers. Ongoing efforts are aimed at strengthening the open-source building blocks used to develop solutions, expanding working knowledge in the field, and actively participating in the standards bodies and consortia that are framing the guidelines and devising reference architectures to guide architects and developers. I see the collaboration of Nasdaq and Intel as an important step forward in shaping and defining the future of network virtualization.
Nasdaq’s expectations for network virtualization with SDN and NFV include:
• Improved operational efficiency through single-point network control
• Enhanced architectural modularity and scalability through rapid and dynamic Quality of Service adjustments
• Reduced time-to-market for testing and launching products rapidly
• Rapid provisioning of compute resources, network resources, and storage on demand
• Stronger security implemented dynamically as needed from one control point
As to the long-term, benefits and possibilities, Kenneth Kirk, Director of the Networking Architecture Group at Nasdaq, said, “SDN and NFV technologies offer great opportunities for us to consolidate and provide agility to our business systems. The technology transition of Nasdaq’s existing network infrastructure components—from dedicated purpose-built devices to virtualized high performance servers that provide multiple network functions—will enable Nasdaq to realize the anticipated benefits of SDN and NFV of agility, reduced time to market, capital and operational savings.”
Explore the Possibilities
The takeaway I think is most important from this engagement is this: Nasdaq has become bullish about the advantages of virtualized networking in its market sector. Deployments of SDN and NFV solutions are beginning to take place in many key industry sectors. To explore the possibilities and hear more about Nasdaq’s network transformation, I recommend that you read this white paper, “Developing and Deploying NFV Solutions Efficiently, Nasdaq Transforms Its Network Infrastructure”.