How to deploy your SDN effectively

Organisations need to carefully consider which deployment model to adopt when rolling out software defined networks, according to Gartner.

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How to deploy your SDN effectively Gartner says that hybrid software defined networking deployments allow for non-disruptive migration.
By  Georgina Enzer Published  September 9, 2013

Organisations need to carefully consider which deployment model to adopt when rolling out software defined networks, according to Gartner.

Currently three deployment models for SDN are available; switched-based, overlay and hybrid. For greenfield deployments, particularly when the cost of physical infrastructure and multi-vendor options are important, a switch-based model is common, said Joe Skorupa, VP and distinguished analyst at Gartner, although the biggest limitation to this approach is that it currently does not leverage existing L2/3 network equipment.

When rapid deployment over an existing IP network, or when responsibility for the SDN environment is assigned to the server virtualisation team, a tunnel-based overlay approach may be appropriate. With this approach the SDN endpoints are virtual devices that are part of the hypervisor environment.

“The greatest limitations of this approach are that it does not address the overhead of managing the underlying infrastructure, de-bugging problems in an overlay can be complex and it does not support bare metal hosts,” said Skorupa.

The third approach combines the first two into a hybrid deployment. This allows a non-disruptive migration with a path toward an eventual switch-based design. Gateways link devices that do not natively support overlay tunnels, such as bare metal servers.

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