Understanding SDN and its Business Use-Cases

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Understanding SDN and its Business Use-Cases

There have been some big changes happening within the modern data center. Our network control plane has become much more distributed as new types of technologies are impacting the data center and the business. As we continue to develop the software-defined data center – it’s critical to understand which components are making the biggest differences.

Today, a lot of conversation is happening around software-defined network (SDN). In fact, IDC recently reported that SDN continues to gain ground within the broader enterprise and cloud service provider markets for datacenter networking. According to IDC’s new forecast, the worldwide SDN market for the enterprise and cloud service provider segments will grow from $960 million in 2014 to over $8 billion by 2018, representing a robust CAGR of 89.4%. This forecast for the SDN ecosystem includes in-use physical network infrastructure, controller and network-virtualization software, SDN network and security services and related applications, and SDN-related professional services.

With that in mind – let’s take a brief moment to understand SDN:

  • Understanding SDN: With SDN, at a very high level, administrators are able to control and manage entire network through the abstraction of higher-level functionality. Now, let’s dive a bit deeper — This is all accomplished by abstracting the layer which manages how traffic is distributed and where it’s being sent – this is the control plane. The underlying system helps control traffic destination – this is the data plane. To make SDN work – there has to be some kind of communication between both the control and data plane – even though management is abstracted. It may sound complicated; but it really isn’t. The concept with SDN is to create a very dynamic and highly-programmable network infrastructure which is capable of controlling underlying infrastructure components while still being abstracted from applications and network services. This allows for better programmability across the all networking layers, better agility, central management, and an open-standards architecture. This means that SDN can drastically simplify network design by allowing administrators to aggregate physical resources, point them to an abstracted management layer (SDN) and create intelligent, programmatically configured, controls around the entire network. This means you can present network resources (via SDN) to applications and other resources. To the administrator – they have visibility into the entire network flow architecture. To the applications or resources using that network resource, they simply see a logical switch. SDN’s abstraction concept fundamentally simplifies some of today’s most complicated and fragmented networking ecosystems. This is why we’re seeing so much adoption in the data center space. Organizations use SDN to deal with complexity, better policy control, improved scalability, and to remove vendor dependencies. Most of all, SDN helps with new concepts around IoT, cloud integration and cloud services, controlling vast amounts of data (big data), and even improving IT consumerization and mobility.

IDC sees significant near-term use case opportunities for SDN in both cloud service provider rollouts and enterprise deployments. Although enterprises are largely still testing the waters to see what benefits will accrue from SDN, IDC predicts that the enterprise market will be a major driver of overall SDN growth over the next several years.

Here’s the other point – there are already a lot of great use-cases for SDN. This includes:

  • Web scaling for hosting/public cloud providers
  • Private/hybrid cloud deployments
  • Network programmability/customization
  • Security applications

New technologies revolving around SDN are revolutionizing how organizations control their resources and deploy content. Still, to get the architecture right – you have to work with a partner who has experience working with advanced networking and virtual network ecosystems. Reach out to MTM Technologies to schedule a call with one of our networking experts to truly understand where SDN can revolutionize your data center.

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