Software-defined networking (SDN) is disrupting corporate networking as IT executives look to break free from static, non-agile networking infrastructure, and to lower their operating costs.
Traditional telecom OSS systems are being disrupted due to massive complexity, slow development time and legacy design concepts – the same is true on the enterprise side of the demarcation as well. Enterprises are looking to reduce operational expenditures and increase network agility and flexibility.
SDN and network functions virtualization (NFV) benefit organizations on multiple levels, offering flexibility and new possibilities for serving the needs of their customers more efficiently while helping them achieve their CapEx and OpEx goals.
SDN starts by freeing data centers from traditionally manual, hands-on processes. It helps to transform networks from rigid architectures and inflexible implementations, dependent on laborious hand-coding, to an elastic resource easily programmable for meeting dynamic modern network and business demands.
Where there is pervasive use of virtualization for server and compute infrastructure, this software-based functionality is now moving to the network; routing, switching and Layer 4-7 functions.
Further, instead of programming network devices through individual Command Line Interfaces, configuration management is being handled through automated processes that are “service-driven.” Services are now implemented using software modeling concepts and translated into programming data modeling languages and web services.
Measurable Cost Savings
In addition to these operational efficiencies, IT organizations are using SDN to realize significant cost savings. Organizations are no longer tied to vendors and their proprietary architectures. With SDN’s open interfaces and standards with abstraction at the network layer, you have the ability to more competitively source and deploy networking infrastructure solutions and control costs.
Deploying SDN allows organizations to simplify their hardware, using commodity servers and bare metal switches to drastically lower your hardware costs.
Open Network standards adaptation, which includes SDN and NFV, is expected to lower OpEx by 15 to 30 percent and CapEx between 25 to 75 percent, according to a 2014 study, Open Networking Challenges and Opportunities, from the Open Networking User Group.
Faster Service Delivery
Adopters of SDN technology should also expect significant uptime improvements in their network. In a 2014 Data Center Outlook survey of more than 320 qualified IT professionals, 81 percent of respondents cited improved uptime and availability as the top benefit of SDN. In addition, more than 75 percent of respondents felt SDN enabled enhanced security.
Once fully deployed, organizations can expect to recognize significant time-savings. SDN’s programmability expedites the design, testing and deployment of projects. Configurations and services adds/changes that once took months to complete can now be delivered in weeks, or days, allowing carriers to shorten their time to revenue while enterprises are able to dramatically speed up their services delivery as compared to outmoded network services methodologies.
Increased Scalability And Agility
SDN’s most significant long-term benefit is the increased scalability it offers organizations by utilizing virtualized networks and functions and automation for management, load balancing, dynamic traffic management, network monitoring and control functions.
As SDN evolves, mainstream organizations are continuing to evaluate it. For some, it’s still too early to consider deploying, while other companies are looking at established industry use cases and moving into their own Proof-of-Concept (POC).
Be sure to see our blog post highlighting four ways SDN is revolutionizing networking.
Are you ready to learn more about SDN?