Home > Blogs > SDN/NFV Continues Gaining Ground and Traction, But...

Yes, although Software Defined Networking (SDN) and Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) have been out and about in the technology space for more than three years now, and plenty of major players offer interesting products and services in this vein, I'm still seeing enough of a gap between technology makers and service providers hawking these wares, and companies taking up such offers, to provide continuing ground for concern. This goes double for basic training and certification on SDN and NFV, where the number of options and offerings come nowhere near the number of players jockeying for advantage on this playing field.

SDN/NFV are full of intricate details which must be understood and mastered.

If you take a look at the roster of players involved in providing NFV and SDN solutions and proof-of-concept implementations you can't help but be impressed. Thus, for example, you can read about the European Technology Standards Insitute's (ETSI's) NFV group, which is now home to over 270 companies and member organizations including 38 of the world's major service providers, telecom companies, and IT vendors. It's full of familiar names and global brands, such as Cisco, Deutsche Telekom, Ericsson, Fujitsu, HP, Intel, NEC, NTT, Oracle, and many more.

But if you look at IT certifications in these areas -- and I have, in numerous other blog posts (as you'll see if you run this Google Search) -- you'll see precious few offerings on that portion of the landscape. Ditto for training, though it is somewhat less sparsely populated on the training front than for certification programs and credentials. In a May story for Tom's IT Pro, I conducted a reasonably comprehensive survey (though I now know I missed a few items, thanks to follow-up from some overlooked sponsors) and still didn't come up with too many more than a dozen such offerings.

I'm hoping that the impending release of SDN credentials and related curriculum for training from the Open Networking Foundation (ONF) for its ONF-Certified SDN Engineer (OCSE) and ONF-Certified SDN Associate (OCSA) later this year will finally open some floodgates to arm interested IT professionals with the skills and knowledge they need to work in this emerging and increasingly important part of the networking (and IT) world. If the way CompTIA chooses and maintains certifications is any indicator (as with its Storage+ credential, created in tandem with the Storage Networking Industry Association, or SNIA), the availability of a widely-accepted and -valued vendor- and platform-neutral credential set should go a long way toward bringing those who use such technologies together with those who build them, implement them, and make them available in the form of products and/or services.

Don't hold your breath, though: as much as I'd like to see IT steaming full speed ahead into SDN and NFV it still looks like it's going to take another year or two for these related and important technologies to attain the kind of momentum they truly warrant.