SDN -Software Defined Networking explained

21st April 2017 – Written by Iain Spooner

Software defined networking is a way of looking at how networking and cloud solutions should be automated, efficient, and scalable in a world where application services may be provided locally, by the data centre, or even within a cloud. This is impossible to achieve with a rigid/ legacy system that’s both challenging to manage, maintain, and upgrade. Moving forward, you need simplicity, flexibility, and the ability to quickly scale up and grow to meet ever changing and ever increasing IT and business needs.

Achieve Network agility by separating (disaggregating) traditional vertical integrated networking stack to improve the speed of service delivery and customisation operations for specialised and specific environments.

SDN has potential use cases and benefits in all industries and applications. SDN is rapidly gaining momentum, and is projected to become a £20-25 Billion-pound industry by 2018, and is estimated to account for 30-40% of all IT network expenditure.

The more flexible and agile IT becomes, the more responsive it can be to changing business and application demands, and the more IT will be aligned with business strategies, resulting in greater revenue opportunities and competitive advantage throughout IT.

The agility and the alignment of IT and business objectives are largely accomplished through vastly greater degrees of IT process and infrastructure automation

SDN has the potential used cases and benefits for all industries, Business verticals, and applications.

The Top three SDN Business drivers;
  • Simplification of network provisioning
  • Virtualisation of existing Networks
  • Quick creation of new (virtual) Networks
The three Core Key advantages of SDN vs Hardware defined Networks;
  • Simple Dynamic and flexible vs complex and rigid
  • Agile and quick to deploy vs slow, labor intensive and costly deployment
  • Capable of handling traffic upswings and increases vs legacy networks incapable and beyond scope to manage these changes
The primary 3 benefits for SDN are;
  • Less cost
  • Less time
  • Less effort
SDN's are designed to deliver on 3 promises;
  • Simplified and centralized provisioning and control
  • Software controlled Network
  • Significantly lower costs

This allows greater control of the IT team and enables significant benefits for the rest of the organisation, including;

  • Centralized management and programmability
  • Provides a granular and holistic view of devices and capabilities
  • Reduced IT staff time
  • Fewer skills required to ensure IT is moving in the right direction
Utilizing SDN network, allows Separation of the control and data plans, which provides several additional benefits;
  • Free’s up processing power
  • Improves packet and frame traffic
  • Optimised network performance
  • Simplifies devices and elements
  • Automation

One of the most compelling benefits of SDN is Automation.

Using SDN combined with automation makes it possible to program the network via API's, providing further benefits;

  • Unprecedented levels of efficiency
  • Helps users meet SLAS
  • OpeX available for immediate cost savings
  • Frees IT staff to focus important/ strategic tasks

Ultimately, SDN enables any organization to virtualise their entire network.

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