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7 business issues that software-defined networking can resolve

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SDN network solutions

 

Successful modern computing environments today are characterised by their ability to adapt to change, their layered connectivity and their capability for running an abstracted and componentized service-based architecture that can be reconfigured into an almost infinite variety of forms. The core power to control change and deliver fine-tuning from a point of central management is much of the rationale behind Software-Defined Networking (SDN).

As networks become decoupled, increasingly cloud-centric and in many cases augmented by automation intelligence, we move away from any notion of the silo-based approach to computing that may have been more prevalent in the pre-millennial age. As Software-Defined Networking (SDN) now flourishes and starts to evolve… we can define key pain points that IT and business decision makers will be set free from.

  1. COST — SDN can have an immediate impact on the bottom line and some open source elements are even provided free of charge. Most fundamentally, SDN represents a shift from Capital Expenditure (CapEx) to Operational Expenditure (OpEx) based operations. The business is relieved of the burden of upfront capital outlay on hardware in the form of servers, routers, switches and other networking componentry as these elements are bought ‘on demand’ in a service-based delivery framework only to the extent that they are physically (or in this case, virtually) needed.
  2. SDN: network performance managementISOLATION CHALLENGES – An SDN provider can isolate a virtual machine or a complete virtual server through a variety of software-based isolation methods. This separation of resources can make it easier to separate computing streams to facilitate bimodal IT and can also help isolate mission-critical or sensitive data when appropriate.
  3. SKILLS SHORTAGES — In an SDN environment, we can achieve a far higher level of skills management efficiency. As analyst house IDC points out, traditional network environments required highly skilled, specialised staff to support them. In the ICT environment driven by 3rd Platform demands, the whole infrastructure will ideally be managed as one continuous space, based on application performance and demands.
  4. DOWNTIME — As SDN works by virtualising most of the physical networking devices required in the network, we can perform upgrades, maintenance and enhancements far quicker than inside a traditional physical environment from a central data centre or other locations. We can also snapshot the configuration at any given moment in time which will make security provisioning and disaster recovery easier to perform.
  5. EXTENSIBILITY — SDN allows us to achieve a new level of extensibility. IT managers in the past suffered when trying to extend the scope of their operational hardware and software stacks due to lack of standards, poor information relating to network traffic flows and proprietary limitations put in place by previous legacy systems. SDN opens up new channels via web services, many using Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) to connect to the wider world.
  6. MANAGEMENT — A new means of virtual networking management is achievable through SDN, as the modification of physical networking devices becomes a thing of the past. Specialised management tools in data centre networks enable a new level of fine-grained controls, some of which will be carried out under pre-programmed automation policies based upon defined network operations parameters.
  7. A NEW OPENNESS — Enterprises can no longer afford to operate on the proprietary closed technology stacks of yesterday. As analyst house IDC points out, networking will have to embrace openness — not for the sake of being open, but to realise the benefits of innovation and advanced architectures that enable the changing role of networks, from providing connectivity across the enterprise to supporting business goals.

Software-Defined Networking (SDN) represents a sea change positive upheaval in terms of the way IT departments will be able to operate, depend upon and leverage their computing backbone for greater Line of Business efficiencies, which can ultimately lead to improved financial profitability on the bottom line.

 

Adrian Bridgwater

Adrian Bridgwater

Adrian is a technology journalist with over two decades of press experience. Primarily, he worked as a news analysis writer dedicated to a software application development ‘beat’; but, in a fluid media world, he is also an analyst, technology evangelist and content consultant. He has spent much of the last ten years also focusing on open source, data analytics and intelligence, cloud computing, mobile devices and data management.

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