Brandon Tikalsky, Sr. Director, Cloud & Network Architecture at Digital Realty, highlights how companies are using SDN (software defined networking) to create dynamic, virtual data center networks.
When software defined networking (SDN) first burst onto the scene, many IT professionals questioned its value. Some would even joke that SDN stood for “still done nothing” because using SDN and determining the business benefits were so confusing.
SDN has since busted through the hype and become an integral piece of achieving digital transformations, further moving the data center industry into modernization.
To move towards becoming a zero-latency enterprise, private networks are increasingly being adopted for public cloud connectivity. In bypassing the public Internet, enterprises can decrease latency while improving security and performance through network function virtualization (NFV) and SDN.
Reducing Complexity is Becoming Critical
SDN architectures automate and centralize the management of your network connectivity. The reduction in system complexity increases the ability to quickly and efficiently respond to things like unpredictable network traffic patterns and outages. Because SDN separates the network control panel from the forwarding panel, network controls are programmable, and the infrastructure can be used for various different applications and network services as needed.
Legacy networking hasn’t evolved quickly enough to keep up with the pace at which cloud environments have evolved.
Use Cases Are Increasing
Digital technology trends in cybersecurity, smart cities, urbanization, and IoT are continually increasing the amount of data that is being created. Because different types of data don’t exist in silos and are increasingly becoming dynamically interconnected with each other—especially as 5G becomes ubiquitous—it’s crucial to have networks that are fast, flexible, secure, and agile.
Adoption of SDN Could Become Sink or Swim Criticality
Legacy networking hasn’t evolved quickly enough to keep up with the pace at which cloud environments have evolved. The future of companies’ IT environments need to adapt to handle the complexity and demands of the compute and network demands on the technologies driving change. The only way to do this is through a SDN architecture network.
Leveraging SDN for Agile Network Management
Companies are leveraging SDN to create dynamic, virtual data center networks, freeing IT teams from spending time on fixing service disruptions. Through automation, SDN eliminates the manual process of working through an account rep or data center technician to provision a service. You have control over provisioning services and making adjustments to your deployments from a centrally managed system. SDN is also great for geographically dispersed locations that don’t have many IT personnel on site. Manually scaling the network infrastructure to meet the peaks in traffic can be time consuming and expensive, because it uses a high amount of resources while the majority of your network is often left underutilized. SDN automatically detects and configures the network to handle these changes as your business scales and evolves, giving you a more agile IT network.
What’s Next for SDN?
Companies are beginning to adopt it. As we’ve seen with cloud adoption, it can take time to implement transformational methods across an entire organization. Over the next few years we expect to see a dramatic increase in SDN adoption and usage. The market generated revenue of nearly $5.15 billion in 2017, up more than 32.2% from 2016, and IDC estimates that the worldwide data center SDN market will be worth more than $12 billion in 2022.
Brandon Tikalsky is Sr. Director, Cloud & Network Architecture at Digital Realty. See Digital Realty’s additional data center predictions for 2019.