Software defined networking is a buzzword that is growing rapidly. There are a multitude of various Software Defined Network solution partners out there and consolidation will eventually make its way into the market.
With all of the buzz and so many providers out there, why would you possibly want to deploy a Software Defined Network and what are the benefits and reasons why this is such a game changer? Everything you do should be looked at from a service, economics, and technology perspective. These are three key components you should look at it when making any type of network decision.
Game Changer #1 of a Software Defined Network: SERVICE Benefits
Fast/zero Touch Deployment - Software Defined Networks are literally a plug and play set up. They can be deployed and configured in a manner of days, and set up by your network engineer within minutes. Once the device is shipped and you have it configured and policies set up, it is good to go. Some Software Defined Network platforms are easier to use and more user friendly, but all of them are able to deploy quickly.
Leverage Your Bandwidth, Bring Your Own - You literally get more bandwidth for your buck when using Software Defined Networks. Bandwidth aggregation between dual connections, packet remediation, and application control allow for greater and more efficient use of bandwidth and less packet loss.
Increased Network Control and Visibility - Cloud migrations, mobile users (BYOD), and application deployments can wreak havoc on networks. Software Defined Networks allow a full view of the applications being used over the network, web and internet traffic, and also allows you to enforce business policies and web content filtering to ban certain applications from being used on the network.
Game Changer #2 of a Software Defined Network: ECONOMIC Benefits
Lower ISP Costs - leveraging a hybrid approach with various connectivity options (broadband, FiOS, cable, DSL, 4G LTE, MPLS), you can significantly reduce network costs and get rid of the high costs of local access charges with MPLS services. Even though these types of connections do not have SLAs, a Software Defined Network provides QoS and the ability to remediate on its own between two connections which will result in immediate business continuity and redundancy.
Lower TCO - Lower CAPEX costs by eliminating equipment including firewalls (in some cases) and routers, a Software Defined Network replaces these devices in most scenarios. Also, since most Software Defined Network pricing models are based on OPEX, the overall cost of using a Software Defined Network is reduced through a hybrid network approach, less equipment, and better performance.
Game Changer #3 of a Software Defined Network: TECHNOLOGY Benefits
Cloud Based - Software Defined Networks entail more than deploying a piece of hardware at your remote sites, datacenters, and HQ locations. Software Defined Networks use both gateways at each site as well as an Orchestrator at the head end. Even though hardware is deployed, Software Defined Networks works as a cloud based platform and is managed using cloud based protocols. As an added benefit, you can connect directly to cloud providers and deploy cloud based applications using a Software Defined Network, as well as business policies through the cloud.
Utilize Internet Broadband - As mentioned above, using a hybrid approach allows you to bring your own bandwidth to support a Software Defined Network. Either through Ethernet over copper/fiber/coax, DSL, FiOS, 4G LTE Wireless, or cable are all great options you can use. MPLS services are also supported.
Business Continuity/Instant DR - Software Defined Networks use dual broadband connections including wireless to aggregate bandwidth and remediate packet loss. For example, if you have a DSL connection that is experiencing latency, the 2nd connection will remediate the packet loss from the DSL connection, resulting in immediate fail over and improves network performance through multi-path optimization. Cable and DSL can be very unreliable, so it is imperative to have two connections, including fail over to a wireless device.
Security and PCI Compliance - Software Defined Networks offer comprehensive security including PCI 3.0 compliance through end-to-end security and firewall protocols. Some of these features include: segregating networks, WPA2, WPA2-PSK encryption, access restriction based on user preferences, regular security patches, penetration checks, and web content filtering.
The benefits of a Software Defined Network far outweigh the risks entailed with legacy network designs. With a Software Defined Network you can enjoy all of the technical, economic, and service benefits as you continue to evolve your network and improve optimal performance.
Ryan Carter specializes in working with thought-leading, strategically-targeted IT executives to help them achieve an increased focus on business-impacting technology, business transformation, reduced operating costs, and IT productivity. Ryan provides thought leadership and various areas of expertise for Communications Managed Services including telecommunications expense management, mobility managed services, technology road-mapping, network design, business continuity, vendor management, and user support.
For more information on driving IT performance and improving business outcomes, or if you have any comments or questions related to this post, please contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.