While there have been numerous IT developments in the past decade, Software Defined Networking (SDN) will be a significant contribution that will revolutionize data centers eventually leading to more business profits and new business models.

There has been an observed lag between IT requests and actual readiness of production environments. Businesses thus have to be fast paced in embracing technology to ensure high availability.

Although software-defined networking was coined to make out the core difference that it had with the hardware-based one, there’s more to it that will stand to justify the claim that it will be the next IT thing.

Most importantly it holds the promise of transforming the IT to a greater degree than any other development.

What is SDN, you ask?

Before I actually begin defining what exactly SDN is, let me tell you what a switch is made of. A switch is basically a network device that consists of just two components- the control plane and the forwarding plane.

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The forwarding plane is that piece of hardware other than the CPU that ensures packets are routed across the network.

And now, how does this forwarding plane function?

There comes the role of the control plane where the routing protocols reside and perform their work whose results control the forwarding plane tables and determine how packets are routed.

Thus, in simple terms- SDN is a software that deploys control on the forwarding plane by a writing software that will expand or replace portions of the control plane on the switch provided by vendors like Cisco, Juniper etc.For example, protocols like OpenFlow will help in the evolution of SDN that is not actually tied to some vendor.

Well, now it should explain how it has become an emerging architecture that is designed to manage and support virtual machines and the dynamic nature of today’s applications independent of the physical network.

So what does such an evolving technology has to offer? Here we go!

Challenges addressed by SDN:

Lowers economic costs:

It definitely is expected to lower the CAPEX(capital expenditures) and OPEX(operating expenses) expenditure of businesses so that they could invest in more avenues.

CAPEX:

Centralized intelligence and implementation of logic in switches eliminate the deployment of thousands of switches. Thus,the total cost allocated for maintenance of switches is reduced as well as the total cost of network equipment. A huge chunk of organizations would want to revamp their traditional IT setup and upgrade to SDN for this major reason.

OPEX:

Now, when the network has been centralized, it leaves with just a few points of management. Thus it will take only very few engineers to manage our new modern network. Moreover, it does give room for better utilization of existing hardware while decreasing the need for more expensive and high-end network equipment.

Centralizes security policies:

The granularity of security is improved multifold when specific data packet types are managed as they move across the network.

Prioritize traffic types:

The network can be configured to prioritize specific traffic types that would meet business needs. For example, organizations might want to prioritize Skype for business traffic that extends high-quality video resulting in a good user experience and collaboration.

Improved agility and productivity:

Centralizing the network has got one more advantage. When the whole network can be managed on a single console, management and provisioning of LAN will become a lot more time efficient. There is an expected innovation and growth in the go-to-market strategies that will give rise to new developments, thereby taking productivity to a whole new level as well.

Having gained some significant insight into the challenges and benefits that SDN addresses, let’s now take a look at how SDN is into virtualization.

Role of SDN in virtualization:

Over the past decade, virtualization has been one of the biggest changes that data centers owners and IT Managers have ever seen. It definitely has brought about some real change in server provisioning by automating and streamlining the technology. However, it is a major setback that network/storage infrastructure wasn’t modernized to keep up with the next wave business challenges like that of cloud computing.

While virtualization completely focused on computer/server workloads, it was least concerned to the storage and network domain. Thus, fully deployed and functional VMs did not change the traditional networking and storage strategies.

SDN will bring about that flexibility and economy of software to hardware data centers which traditional networking failed to deliver.

Here’s list of the benefits that data centers can gain the most out of SDN.

Lowers service interruption:

More devices can be added to a network, giving more flexibility towards IT scalability and agility. It does come out as a great fit to parallel processing and the overall design of virtualized networks.

Dynamic routing prioritization:

Based on the real-time network feedback, this new networking architecture uses dynamic routing tables for that helps in prioritizing routing, controlling and managing the virtual machines. Thus, you manage the traffic to multiple IP addresses and machines.

Supports Cloud-based traffic:

Cloud is the one of the biggest trends of IT and Telecom. The Cloud basically functions in correlation with the on-demand capacity and self-service. Thus, it becomes easy for SDN to dynamically deliver based on the demand and availability of the resources within the data center.

High throughput for big data:

Organizations these days are managing huge sets of data that require parallel processing, but doing that requires enough bandwidth. SDN makes it possible by ensuring high connectivity and throughput.

Manages security and policies:

Propagate more security policies over the network that includes the firewall and other elements. This will help you to effectively manage the network and adhere to business requirements. You know, it’s just about programming a software!

Takeaways

These are few of the benefits that SDN offers. There’s more to it that has made this concept receive high-octane attention among data center operators. It is indeed a boon that this simple concept finds itself a great fit for multiple Enterprises, IT & Service Providers, Telecom and so on.

When Software-defined networking holds so many promises, why wait? Embrace it.

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Software Defined Networking is evolving and so should your data centers!
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