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Must-Have Capabilities to Demand in SDN for Improved Efficiency and Operations

February 19, 2016

As much as the enterprise relies on the network today, it can’t afford to cut corners when it comes to security or efficiency. The rise of Big Data and the focus on the cloud forces IT managers to take a step back and evaluate current assets and capabilities to better determine if transforming network infrastructure is a must.

To that end, software-defined technologies (SDN) offers these IT professionals the tools they need to improve operations and overall efficiency within their networks, both LAN and WAN environments. There are a number of different tools that exist when using SDN for new IT projects, specific applications and throughout the network.

A recent TechTarget post hit on this topic, highlighting the fact that the implementation of SDN technologies can often seem challenging, especially given the complex set of protocols and the overwhelming lack of standards. It also doesn’t help that competing products from a variety of vendors all promise to solve these challenges, with no clear front-runner when it comes to transforming network infrastructure.

To overcome some of these challenges, TechTarget recommends that IT professionals start slow, pick a good application, get experience with that application and then expand their SDN footprint. In the evaluation process to select the right application, the professional should ask which ones could benefit the most from the flexibility, programmability and security that SDN offers.

There are a number of capabilities the IT professional must evaluate in the build out of SDN technologies for transforming network infrastructure. When the focus is a greenfield data center, the SDN should be a standard element within the integration between server, network, storage and applications. This ensures an augmentation of networking functionality. If migrating to the private cloud, SDN is used to improve automation and centralized management to ensure private cloud operations are competitive with public cloud services.

When the goal is to boost the performance of network-intensive applications like Big Data analytics, applications like Hadoop lend considerable value as they are highly distributed and require low latency between processes, thereby optimizing performance. Improvements in security are optimized through the SDN as it provides micro-segmentation of virtual machines and applications for internal data center traffic. The SDN will also monitor all tools to see network traffic, lowering the cost and improving the flexibility of network monitoring.

The benefits associated with the use of SDN for transforming network infrastructure continue, but the point is the IT professional has access to so many capabilities that improve overall performance and efficiency. As long as security is also made a top priority, the ideal environment is created. 

Edited by Maurice Nagle

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