Deploying SDN: The dos and don'ts
SDN is rapidly becoming the 'next big thing' and a possible preferred method of orchestrating information sharing in today’s business.
Today, we’re witnessing the rise of trends – cloud computing, mobility and BYOD, to name a few – that are fundamentally changing IT infrastructure. Networking, specifically, has seen significant advancements over the last decade.
Software defined networking (SDN) has become the subject of much discussion, rapidly becoming the “next big thing” and a possible preferred method of orchestrating information sharing in today’s business. In essence, SDNs are virtualized networks designed to let you rapidly and dynamically tweak them in real-time and with minimal effort, opening the world of simplified, and even specialized administration.
While becoming more popular, SDNs aren’t likely to replace traditional networks immediately. Instead, we’re likely to see the birth of a hybrid network, which comprises both traditional and SDN technologies. From here, the question will become how enterprises can manage a combination of tried-and-true equipment and SDN controllers. Lastly, enterprises will need to look at how they can revert to time-honoured tactics in case disaster strikes, or something simple goes wrong.
Virtualised networks in a nutshell
Why do the characteristics of Software Defined Networking matter? Imagine a typical programmer who thinks she’s working in a development system (“thinks” is the key word here). However, a faulty configuration puts her in a live-production system without her knowledge. From here, one simple typo can devastate the production system – and therefore impact the entire business.
With SDNs, you can create a development system in an isolated sandbox, and, after testing, instantly convert it into a live-production system. Thus, in essence, modifying your network on demand (and fast) is SDN’s biggest promise.
SDN is the next step for those organizations looking to increase their flexibility and agility. How does virtualizing a network result in this? For starters, if you consider how a traditional physical computer operates compared to a virtual machine, a physical computer is bound by the specifications of “the box.”
To increase its processing speed and storage capacity, businesses must upgrade individual components or replace the box completely. However, a virtual machine is provisioned using software that mimics the operation of a physical computer.
As a result, it is more flexible. It can adapt to the changing demands of applications and any modifications that need to be made to a virtual machine can be accomplished with relative ease through a software interface, rather than opening up the case and replacing parts.
In a similar way, the physical network has suffered from certain limitations that constrain the network’s potential, particularly in the modern age of mobility and on-demand computing.