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Software Defined Networks Boost Intelligence, Decrease Costs for Enterprise IT

Samad Ali, VP-HP Solutions, Logicalis US
Samad Ali, VP-HP Solutions, Logicalis US

Samad Ali, VP-HP Solutions, Logicalis US

“Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Verizon Communications Inc., and Coca-Cola Enterprises Inc. are telling the world’s largest networking-gear maker that they won’t keep paying for expensive equipment, when software can squeeze out more performance and make the machines more versatile.”—Peter Burrows, Bloomberg Business, August 13, 2014.

What caused the push-back from these high-profile companies against network hardware manufacturers? Perhaps because this representative sample of companies wants to achieve the same objectives as many other organizations:

a) Reduce costs

b) Improve agility

c) Gain competitive edge

d) All of the above

For years, the mantra in IT has been “do more with less.” The problem was no one really knew what this meant. Attaining higher levels of technology achievement by using less technology seems counter-intuitive. But that’s changed because of a fundamental shift in IT from technology as a thing to technology as a service. Nearly all IT leaders today are moving their departments in a singular direction, reshaping them from a technology-based way of thinking to a services-defined enterprise model.

Savvy IT leaders know that the optimal path for networking includes the development of a flexible network, the adoption of open protocols and the addition of hardware designed specifically to support newer, more adaptive enterprise applications of the future. Being prepared for the applications to come will give IT departments distinct advantages, from deploying applications in seconds to managing increasingly mobile workloads. The key is to begin deploying hardware today that is ready for these applications and hardware that will provide investment protection that won’t require a rip-and-replace when these new applications become available That solution is the Software Defined Network (SDN) which can help organizations to realize specific and tangible benefits in the same way server virtualization enabled the use of Industry Standard Servers (ISS) instead of proprietary and costly Unix systems. SDN is critical in the journey to realizing the value of a Software Defined Enterprise, where you can improve operational efficiencies, increase productivity, and enhance customer experiences through the use of software to automate IT management and processes, freeing IT staffs to innovate.

SDN Defined

Software Defined Networking (SDN) is an emerging enterprise architecture that is simultaneously dynamic, manageable, and adaptive to organizational requirements. SDN separates or abstracts network control functions and management from the applications and services that run on the network. This makes SDN a cost-effective choice for today’s demanding, dynamic and high-bandwidth applications.

SDN Benefits

The Software Defined Network offers three key benefits to organizations:

1. Decreased costs

2. Improved agility

3. Competitive advantage

The SDN decreases costs by:

• Reducing the time and resources it takes to program and manage each network device individually vs. centrally.

• Reducing the cost of licensing associated with purchasing network applications such as Firewalls, Anti-Virus, Threat Protection, Load Balancing, Network Performance Monitoring and Management, Compliance Management, & Quality of Service. Now these may be deployed only on selected networking equipment instead of every device.

• Reducing the cost of acquisition of hardware, since now any industry standard enabled hardware, such as that based on OpenFlow, will work with any SDN application.

In addition, the SDN can improve agility in a number of ways:

• Providing real-time control of networking devices to enable specific workloads. A great example of this lies in how Microsoft Lync leverages SDN to ensure a predictable unified communications experience.

• Choosing the right SDN application for a specific task and downloading it directly from the HP SDN App Center to deploy it centrally.

• Establishing routing controls based on communications type, such wide band routing for image data. The routing can be modified as needed at a later time from a central location.

• Using repeatable automated processes that minimize human intervention and errors.

Finally, the SDN provides organizations with a competitive edge by linking SDN-enabled hardware with applications that can better leverage the network and its capabilities.

Networking manufacturers are quickly moving forward to make the dream of SDN a reality. HP is currently shipping over 50 routers and switches that are SDN-enabled and run in a hybrid mode so they can work in today’s network and are ready for tomorrow’s software defined network. HP not only supports the leading open standard OpenFlow protocol, but also works with VMWare’s NSx Virtualization platform. This standards-based approach assures that enterprise infrastructure is ready, when applications demand SDN.

This is all a movement toward the Software Defined Data Center (SDDC) which represents an operational move from manual, siloed technologies and processes to an integrated, automated data center infrastructure and environment, an improvement that will increase the physical speed of enterprise IT resources while delivering consistent performance.

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