Software Defined Networking (SDN)

Software Defined Networking or ‘SDN’ is the combination of a number of different technologies and concepts being brought together to change how Networks work. It’s an approach to networking in which control is decoupled from the physical infrastructure, allowing network administrators to support a network fabric across multi-vendor equipment.

For years companies across the board have wanted a way to accelerate the dynamic responsiveness of their infrastructure. With Software Defined Networking that is becoming a reality.

In the world of 2017 and beyond our virtual world of computing infrastructure means we can create computers, data centres and networks entirely in software – with the added benefit of vastly improving performance and latency.

But what is Software Defined Networking?

Software Defined Networking or ‘SDN’ is the combination of a number of different technologies and concepts being brought together to change how networks work. Much of the technology has evolved as an extension of virtual computing and the huge appetite for more responsive business IT services. Network Function Virtualisation ‘NFV’ is the service provider component of SDN that allows for the creation of common network elements such as routers, firewalls, and application optimisation controllers that all configurable at the touch of a button.

Software automates the configuration and management of the network, removing the human element and the static nature of network control and configuration.


What’s the impact on the industry?

Social media, mobile devices, and Cloud computing are pushing traditional networks to their limits. Compute and storage have benefited from incredible innovations in virtualization and automation, but those benefits are constrained by limitations in the network.

SDN has the potential to revolutionize legacy data centres by providing a flexible way to control the network so it can function more like the virtualized versions of computing and storage today.

SDN offers several benefits for businesses trying to move into a virtual environment. For carrier and service providers, SDN offers bandwidth on demand, which gives controls on carrier links to request additional bandwidth when necessary, as well as WAN optimization and bandwidth calendaring.

Why SDN?

Service providers all over the world are looking at how to upgrade their networks to best take advantage of SDN. The real goal is not simply delivering cheaper network operations, but a complete re-engineering of how Network Connectivity services are implemented and consumed.

Imagine being able to redesign your WAN in real-time through a simple web-based self-service portal, or your network automatically reconfiguring itself based on time of day and traffic patterns.

SDN paves the way for IT departments to work more responsively. It will mean a big change to Network and connectivity services but it’s a new world; a better connected and smarter one.

What this means for service providers is the ability to design, build and change customer networks at the speed of software. No more physical changes or manual updating of equipment configurations. That means potentially huge cost savings and much faster response.

This is the future of SDN. It will mean as big of a change to Network and Connectivity services as the smartphone was to mobile communications. It’s a new world, a better connected, smarter world, brought to you by the power of SDN. We are working closely with our service provider partners to see how they adopt SDN so watch this space!

The SDN Framework

The Benefits of SDN

Offering a centralised, programmable network that can dynamically provision so as to address the changing needs of businesses, SDN also provides the following benefits:

  • Reduce CapEx: SDN potentially limits the need to purchase purpose-built networking hardware, and instead supports pay-as-you-grow models.
  • Reduce OpEX: SDN enables algorithmic control of the Network of Network elements (such as hardware or software switches / routers that are increasingly programmable, making it easier to design, deploy, manage, and scale networks.) The ability to automate provisioning and orchestration optimises service availability and reliability by reducing overall management time and the chance for human error.
  • Deliver Agility and Flexibility: SDN helps organizations rapidly deploy new applications, services, and infrastructure to quickly meet changing business goals and objectives.
  • Enable Innovation: SDN enables organizations to create new types of applications, services, and business models that can offer new revenue streams and more value from the network.

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