Exploring Software-Defined Networking Challenges in Sweden : IT Team Knowledge and Skills Gap

University essay from Jönköping University/JTH, Avdelningen för datateknik och informatik

Abstract: Software-Defined Networking (SDN) is a new evolving approach within the networking domain. The concept is based on decoupling and abstracting the control and data plane of the traditional network devices. This separation facilitates the network operations with many benefits such as faster delivery, better segmentation, scalability, programmability, enhancing the quality of service and the quality of experience. Despite all the benefits, SDN has its own set of challenges.  The purpose of this study is to explore the main challenges in adopting SDN architecture in Swedish organizations. The focus is on the skills gap as one of the main challenges and how Swedish organizations were able to manage it. A qualitative approach has been chosen to conduct this research using semi-structured interviews to collect the data from seven different organizations, using a mixture of a purposive and snowball sampling selection. A thematic approach was then used to generate categories and themes from the collected data. The results are consistent with previous studies when it comes to technical, financial and security challenges. The technical challenges, however, were fewer in comparison with previous studies. A new way of working was presented as a new challenge when implementing SDN solutions. Furthermore, the knowledge gap was mentioned as a key challenge within Swedish organizations when implementing/operating SDN.  Finally, clear recommendations were made to overcome the knowledge gap challenge, from consulting a third-party expert, having a detailed plan, employing a multiphase process for SDN implementation, to having an online learning platform available to the IT team. 

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