If you’re doing any “tire-kicking” on SDN, I would recommend you check out this recently-published research note by Joe Skorupa: “Ask Your SDN Vendor Seven Key Questions Before You Buy“. My favorite questions are the first and last (spoiler alert).
First: What customer references of a similar size and complexity can you provide?
Yes, it is early days for SDN, but there are references out there. It will take some persistence on your part to get them, trust me. Overall, we estimate there are still less than 1000 mainstream production implementations of SDN. However, that is 2 times what it was just a few quarters ago (but still less than the number of Frame Relay implementations). That said, your vendor should be able to provide references – and it is a big red flag if they can’t… And while this is sound advice for any purchase, it is especially important since there is much confusion in the market.
Last: How do you get from this imperfect now to a perfect future state?
Implementation and deployment is so important. First things first, is the vendor’s channel up to speed (and/or will the vendor bring the “A” team)? What about organizationally – am I staffed correctly? Is a forklift required? Here’s the link to the full research note…
Ask Your SDN Vendor Seven Key Questions Before You Buy | Joe Skorupa
Summary: Choosing the wrong software-defined networking vendor can lead to missed opportunities, high costs, complexities and lock-in. Network architects and infrastructure and operations VPs must get answers to these questions before they buy to ensure SDN deployments deliver the desired business benefits.