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Software Defined Networks- A New Spine for IT

By Scott Fenton, VP & CIO, Wind River


Scott Fenton, VP & CIO, Wind River

Trends in Software Defined Networking

Today, we are seeing Software Defined Networking and Software Defined Data Centers appearing everywhere. This market worth 960 million dollars in 2015 is projected to reach 8 billion in 2018. The substantial growth can be attributed to IoT bloom that is slated to bring about 50 billon devices to the IoT arena by 2020, defining the future of how we handle traffic. Service providers are on the hook because they are providing bandwidth and other services for individual customers and SDN will be critical in supporting key paradigm shifts, seen in networking today. There is a lot of changing track patterns observed in geographically dispersed databases primarily because of cloud computing and hybrid clouds which are becoming more popular. The shift is placing a huge burden on the infrastructure that we have today. Every company will eventually migrate to the cloud and users expect on demand access to applications, infrastructures, whether it be applications or infrastructure as a service. This area will be extremely congested due to the massive migration to the Cloud, and with IoT, and Big Data changing the face of IT.

Today we have Hadoop servers lending Big Data architecture, and running analytics and not just taking informational data from the web and populating Big Data platforms but also leveraging IoT to pass information back to devices. This will be impossible without SDN and without it, the infrastructure will become crippled. The pressure to deliver this has caused network providers and network carries to become overwhelmed as they are responsible for bandwidth management which is essential for these operations.

The CIO’s New Role

Earlier, the CIO was part of the finance wing of a company and reported to the CFO, but with the growing relevance of IT, CIOs now report to the COO or the CEO and this puts them in a better position to understand the challenges faced by their business. Today, CIOs and their technology organizations make a bigger impact on the bottom line of corporations than they did 10-15 years ago. I am more involved in working with areas in sales and marketing and product development and my goal is to help companies succeed and grow revenue. I have a team in place to run ERP systems and to keep our email system up. This allows me to focus more on the business side which has become significantly more valuable as we enter the world of IoT. At Wind River, we have a portfolio of software platforms and development tools called Wind River Helix that addresses the system-level opportunities and challenges of deploying IoT applications and capabilities. The conversations with the CIOs of our customers who are working on IoT solutions make my job more strategic as well as rewarding. I am able to speak to customers about IoT, about the product offerings and solutions that we bring to the table to help our customers drive innovation and business transformation.

Importance of Teamwork

One of the key lessons I have learnt when working and delivering IT solutions is that you need to surround yourself with the brightest people you can find. This holds paramount importance when building a team. A leader has to go out of his way to find the brightest and ensure that he is hiring the cream of the crop. CIOs or anyone holding a key leadership position are only good as the ones in the team they lead.

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