(Source: felixtriller via Flickr)
The enterprise IT environment is no longer one where a single server exchanges traffic with client devices. Multiple virtualized machines exchange multiple traffic flows. With SDN, network managers (not network infrastructures) are finally in control of the traffic.
With control comes the potential for increased velocity, even at volume. Download speeds, especially for big data, can be slow. Without SDN, switching routes and juggling bandwidth can be a headache. An SDN controller like OpenFlow gives visibility into network loads -- and jams -- to make intelligent rerouting and dynamic changes to bandwidth much easier.
The bottom line is always important. Though it's still early days for SDN and hard to make definitive statements about TCO and ROI, it's reasonable to suppose that reduced expenditure on network hardware, plus reduced network management costs, will offset spending on SDN controllers and software. And that's without taking account of the really important rewards -- those that should accrue from faster, more agile, more scaleable network operations.
Security is no longer about securing the perimeter around the enterprise crown jewels, if it ever was. It's about granular, automated, real-time monitoring of network activity. SDN allows security policies to be applied to virtual machines and applications, regardless of location, while providing a central security brain to diagnose and treat threats.
If you think about SDN only in terms of increased efficiency and reduced costs, you're missing the bigger picture. SDN helps create opportunities by unlocking the wealth of data largely hidden inside the network. Deep intelligence from an increasingly distributed computing environment not only will help automate network management, but also will make analytic insights more readily available by increasing processing speeds and providing the flexibility and scalability to handle big and unstructured data.
Thanks to software-as-a-service, business teams now exist in an app ecosystem. Everything from CRM to supply chain management, from accounting to payroll, and from R&D to computer-aided design can be provisioned -- and increasingly is provisioned -- over web-based software. SDN configures network traffic flows to make SaaS apps readily accessible, promotes rapid deployment of new apps, and efficiently manages bandwidth requirements.
- Kim Davis
- Connect Directly
6 Ways SDN Shakes Up The Enterprise
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