As more and more data is exchanged, networks are growing in complexity and functionality at an exponential rate, leading to constant state of evolution of network technologies. In contrast, the historical interdependence of a network’s physical elements—routers, switches, etc.—and the knowledge required to manage and operate them—has left many network professionals resistant to the change required for the constant evolution.
Software-defined networking (SDN) can bring a welcome degree of flexibility, programmability, and manageability to traditional architectures through the introduction of a set of automated, virtual protocols.
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Why should enterprises care about SND?
SDN’s virtualized overlay changes the overall enterprise approach to networking. When compute virtualization was introduced, it revolutionized the data center by increasing server management efficiency and flexibility. By separating hardware management from workload administration, compute virtualization enabled organizations to easily scale, extend, and improve the availability of applications across the network. This paved the way for smaller applications and faster development cycles since developers no longer needed to build as many features into the applications, significantly increasing developer productivity and decreasing time-to-market.
SDN in practice: The benefits of virtualization
With today’s networks facing a new and growing set of demands, SDN offers a number of immediate enhancements to the traditional network environment.
Management of a virtualized SDN is divided into two key parts: the overlay network and the underlay network. The underlay represents the traditional network, focusing on providing high-performance connectivity. It can be managed separately from the virtualized network or integrated into a larger hybrid platform, commonly known as a cloud management platform (CMP).
When all components of the network infrastructure are orchestrated and automated, it is easy to create an experience for developers and owners that is similar to a cloud environment. With SDN, infrastructure options for performance requirements, geography and security requirements, among other considerations, are presented through a convenient service catalogue portal, through which workloads can be provisioned automatically to the most appropriate environments. This enables the network team to better manage cost, availability, and performance; migrate workloads; or extend the network to multiple environments. This is all achieved while network security controls are maintained per workload across all environments.
The overarching promise of SDN is real, tangible change for IT infrastructure management and user satisfaction. But the road to a successful network transformation, through which SDN is implemented across all environments, is long with a number of obstacles:
Are you prepared for the network revolution?
Organizations across virtually every industry are migrating at an ever-increasing pace to the cloud. Unfortunately, many are realizing the cloud does not necessarily provide a full menu of capabilities, specifically when it comes to the more advanced needs of the network. In this environment, many businesses are pursuing a new strategy for cloud migrations, a software-defined approach in which a sophisticated overlay satisfies the cutting-edge needs of the modern network.