A relatively new type of network technology is coming to light, known as Software Defined Networking (SDN). This concept may revolutionize network traffic and processing in the future with a little forethought now. For a growing business to make educated technology decisions, the following points regarding SDN should be considered.
What Is SDN?
On a traditional network, control and routing are an integral part of the network’s hardware devices. The “switch” on the device points the flow of data packets onto a specific path. These packets typically follow the same universal route from the particular device with limited ability to change the route if needed.
Using an SDN decouples the functions from the devices and places the control at a higher, more abstract level. Rather than wires and physical hardware running the show, software does the job at a significant advantage.
Benefits of SDN
Speed is the key word when speaking of the gains of using SDN. Traffic and data can be rerouted and load balanced on the fly, improving network performance immensely. Access to data is optimized and lag time is a thing of the past. Since so much data today is cloud based, having a more virtual way to channel activity centrally is a very fitting solution.
Another major benefit of SDN is related to a company’s human resources. Once SDN is implemented by the network team, application developers can leverage SDN protocols for more complex operations of an applications data processing. This could improve the productivity of application developers, and reduce costs and speed to market for new apps. Configuration is programmatic and can be done rapidly and inexpensively. Last but not least, SDN networks are extremely flexible and can be easily scaled to accommodate bigger data and added traffic.
SDN is a highly complex technology that is still in its infancy. The delta between the potential and the reality of this solution is still quite sizable and there is little recommendation yet about how to successfully implement SDN. This could translate into a fairly large learning curve as it relates to installation. Fortunately, the IT community recognizes this challenge and various organizations have combined forces to smooth the road.
Two things MUST be present for SDN to work, accuracy of network architecture, and a well-constructed set of traffic rules for network behavior. Without both of these factors firmly in place, SDN implementation is at risk. If the network is not properly configured and control is removed from device firmware, data may not flow efficiently due to incomplete route information. If traffic rules are inadequately defined, the utter bedlam that may result could render the network inoperable or fraught with lag.
SDN is an exciting way of optimizing the ever-increasing traffic on the cloud. Understanding its immense potential is the first step on the path to implementing a powerful network solution.