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A Flexible Foundation for a Software-Defined Architecture

By CIOReview | Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Software-defined Network (SDN)

For an ideal software-defined architecture, all the elements of a data center must work in unanimity. To manage data centers, all the servers must orchestrate with the VMs and containers, but since networks are crucial to handle and the storages are composed of a fragmented bunch of products, most of the enterprises experience an unstable sight of the data center. 

The reason behind unstable servers is the standardized commercial off-the-shelf model for years while storage and networks have been a proprietary solution that is integrated vertically for hardware and software. To fit this model is a very challenging task, as each piece of the model needs an exclusive approach. This is where software-defined architecture is needed.

Software-defined Architecture ramifies the network control, and forwarding functions enable the control over the network to become directly programmable.

The SDN architecture is:

-Directly Programmable: Network program is directly programmable because it is dissolved from the forwarding functions.

-Rapid: Abbreviating control from forwarding functions let the administrators adjust network traffic flow to meet the challenging needs.

-Managed Centrally: With network intelligence being centrally controlled in software-based SDN and maintaining a global view of the network, it appears to applications and policy engines as a single, logical switch.

-Configured: With SDN, managers can manage, configure and optimize network quickly with automated and dynamic SDN program that can be done by them because the programs don’t depend upon proprietary software.

-Open Standard-based: If SDN is implemented through open standards, network design and operations can be simplified because the important instructions are provided by SDN controllers, not multiple, vendor-specific devices and protocols.

Computing Trends are Driving Network Change

The static architecture of conventional networks is difficult to suite with the dynamic computing and storage use of data centers, campuses, and carrier environments and therefore there have been emerging new trends in the landscape. The key computing trends driving new network paradigm include:

- Traffic Patterns: Applications that rely on databases that are geographically distributed and on servers of public and private clouds require a flexible traffic management and access to bandwidth on demand.

-  Consumerization of IT: The growing trend of Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) demand for networks that are both secure and flexible.

- The Upswing of Cloud: The users expect access to applications, infrastructure, and IT resources.

- Big Data: Handling data sets that require massive parallel processing and fuels constant demand for more capacity and a strong connectivity.

Benefits of Software-defined Network

If a cloud service provider wants to ensure that the customers move their virtualized workloads without much planning, SDN is the right choice. SDN simplifies the network and also helps cloud service providers to host millions of virtual networks common separation isolation methods such as VLAN. SDN enables network administrators to orchestrate network services from a management tool by virtualizing physical network connectivity into logical network connectivity.

Some organizations have implemented SDN solution in their environment while others are still in the process of testing the solution. SDN should help push the holdouts to opt for SDN implementation in the future, specifically cloud service providers.

Apart from all the benefits SDN provides, the biggest of all advantage is the SDN’s ability to convert its physical network environment into software, which helps in reducing the overall CAPEX and OPEX. Network administrators often find it problematic to manage a physical router's configuration, and it becomes time-consuming and tedious when more than one router needs to be managed. SDN simplifies the management of physical routers by providing the management APIs in the SDN landscape.