Softwarization is Coming of Age!

Eileen Healy, Editor-in-Chief, IEEE Softwarization eNewsletter


Welcome to the inaugural edition of the IEEE SDN Newsletter. After one year of focused support and cross-fertilization efforts over many IEEE Societies, a growing, global IEEE Software Defined Network (SDN) technical community is emerging with shared interests in the opportunity and potential of SDN. Ultra-broadband[1] diffusion, increasing processing speeds, IT costs reductions, the widespread deployment of data centers and virtualized services have enabled both established and new companies to grow without high capital costs or time to market constraints. These developments have paved the way for public network operators to leverage open software and commodity hardware to realize similar impacts on their business models.

Following the technology cycle we have seen over and over again: enterprises led the way with their more nimble practices and first mover advantage. Once standards emerge and carrier class QoS controls are established, large public networks with their challenging requirements for ubiquity, reliability, open access and scalability adopt these technologies. What large networks lose in first mover advantage, they compensate for with their sheer size and impact on society. Public telecommunications networks are now on the cusp of fundamental change that will be unstoppable once the test beds and trials are complete. This in turn promises quicker turnaround of new applications and services for end users.

While the primary driver accelerating today’s adoption of SDN is based on dramatic improvements in processing power and ultra broadband, there are other events that are also coming together to finally drive this latest communications revolution. These changes have been driven by progress on Network Function Virtualization (NFV) standards, infrastructure vendors’ adoption and new business models. In addition, Network Operators are slowly migrating their core competencies to support more dynamic SDN and NFV platforms. Beyond carrier grade networks, there are also ad hoc, military and other networks leading the inevitable march towards softwarization of networks.

This leads to a vision of a world where everything can run on commoditized, general purpose IT servers and distributed, green, redundant data centers where reliability and performance can be tightly controlled and is highly scalable. This environment promises to deliver critically important applications and services to benefit humanity. SDN and NFV should offer more agile networks that can deliver everything from telemedicine to television, mobile banking to educational services in new and compelling ways across the globe. In the developing world, SDN and NFV offer the potential to leapfrog traditional architectures and enable communities to provide much needed services though more agile, easily deployed networks. The XaaS (Anything as a Service) model that this softwarization enables will allow an entrepreneur in Africa or a start up in Silicon Valley to become a service provider without the intense capital outlay that has heretofore restricted this domain to very large operators with deep pockets.

These are the topics we will address in this newsletter along with keeping you abreast of the technical work that is making this happen. In addition, we will share of the exciting work going on within the SDN Initiative including major collaborations with the world’s great universities and laboratories.

The bi-monthly newsletter will cover the latest developments in Software Defined Networks and virtualization related technologies in an easy to digest format while upholding the IEEE reputation for high quality, peer reviewed technical content. Our goal is to provide insightful articles for the casual observer, as well as the academics and other professionals leading the charge. This new environment is impacting core and edge networks alike and is forever changing the way that public communications are enabled and enhanced. Our intent is to put these changes into the broader context of society including aspects of regulation, policy, social impacts and new business models.

Articles are peer reviewed by our Editorial Board with a focus on the systems level view of the technology and the challenges and impacts of current and anticipated changes as networks reach the SDN tipping point. In this issue you will find very interesting articles about SDN and NFV and the future of the traditional central office as it is transformed into a data center. Now I invite you to dive into this issue – enjoy!


-Eileen Healy
Editor-in-Chief, IEEE Softwarization eNewsletter



Eileen HealyEileen Healy is a proven change agent who knows how to deliver solutions by crafting vision and executing strategy leading concrete results. She has been a member of the IEEE since 1982 and worked in the telecommunications industry for even longer. Eileen started as a network analyst helping an international financial brokerage minimize their costs for international telex[2] and voice calls. Driven by her love for this work, she went on to study electrical engineering at UC Berkeley where her passion for communications landed her an unprecedented role as the only undergraduate working as a teaching assistant in Dr. John Whinnery’s optics and microwave lab while earning her BSEE. She then worked for Pacific Bell where she was the liaison to Stanford University’s Telecommunications Institute providing industry perspective and guest lecturing on development in commercial optical networks. As Vice-Chairman of ANSI’s subcommittee on Digital Hierarchies, she helped shape the SONET and SDH optical standards. Later, she helped to launch Pacific Bell Mobile Services where she and her colleagues bucked the trend in the U.S. and supported the emerging GSM standards leading to the widespread deployment in the U.S. She founded two companies that successfully supported the growth of mobile networks and services. She is an accomplished senior executive who consistently delivers results by remaining on the cutting-edge of changing market place dynamics. She has worked in the Metro-Ethernet Forum, the Cloud Services Forum and participated in the NFV Forum before its integration into ETSI. She is currently actively involved in the IEEE SDN Initiative holding various roles including the Editor-in-Chief of the SDN Newsletter.


[1] Ultra-broadband refers to ultra-high speed broadband transmission supporting download speeds of 50 Mbps and above.

[2] The original texting service that was used heavily in international stock and commodities trading until the 1990s.



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Past Issues

November 2018

March 2018

January 2018

December 2017

September 2017

July 2017

May 2017

March 2017

January 2017

November 2016

September 2016

July 2016

May 2016

March 2016

January 2016

November 2015

IEEE Softwarization Editorial Board

Laurent Ciavaglia, Editor-in-Chief
Mohamed Faten Zhani, Managing Editor
TBD, Deputy Managing Editor
Syed Hassan Ahmed
Dr. J. Amudhavel
Francesco Benedetto
Korhan Cengiz
Noel Crespi
Neil Davies
Eliezer Dekel
Eileen Healy
Chris Hrivnak
Atta ur Rehman Khan
Marie-Paule Odini
Shashikant Patil
Kostas Pentikousis
Luca Prete
Muhammad Maaz Rehan
Mubashir Rehmani
Stefano Salsano
Elio Salvadori
Nadir Shah
Alexandros Stavdas
Jose Verger