Why the Sudden Push toward Software Defined Architecture

By CIOReview | Thursday, September 22, 2016
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There is a high demand in IT market to meet the concept of agility, optimize productivity and increase revenue in times of high demand in responsiveness and simplified business environment. Spawning interoperable communication strategy in the wake of software-defined networking and software-defined storage, SDA (Software-Defined Architecture) takes Web Scaling further. It offers many of the features which more expensive and name-brand storage arrays also provide. This means, administrators can pair it with commodity hardware as an alternative. SDA encourages the need to change the underlying software by introducing a layer of virtualization between software and its users—both human and machine.

How Does it Work

Now, imagine that there existed some sort of master traffic planner (our network administrator). The pedestrians, bikers, cars, buses in our imagined system (much like the data packets in a network) need to use roads in different intervals during day-time. But then ambulances need to reach everywhere faster, so that’s priority. Buses and cars draw heavy traffic during weekday mornings than in weekend afternoons. Bikers are usually unpredictable and seem only to ignore the stop signs.

The traffic planner can invite some incremental changes to the system like change in speed limit or build a separate bike lane. But big changes are complicated and take a lot of time, effort, and capital to make. What if the planner could manipulate the rules in real time, as if with a magic wand, which could move roadways around at will? Unused road lanes could move to roads swamped with gridlock. Or trucks, cars, motorcycles, and bikes get their own lanes, never interfering with one another or an ambulance-only path available directly from the accident spot to the emergency room.

Understanding the New Architectural Need

The trend toward SDA promises to revolutionize IT by automating control of the underlying infrastructure and reducing hardware costs. Just as we know the future of the data center is software defined, SDA will enable policy-driven management of resources and allow applications to run across commodity hardware on the authority of demands by particular workload. This future of high performance computing offers a broader vision for the future of IT efficiency.

Driving needs:

• The snowballing of mobile devices, server virtualization, and connected cloud services is driving the networking industry to reexamine traditional network architectures.
• Within the enterprise data center, traffic patterns have changed significantly. You’d find many conventional networks to be hierarchical in nature—built of Ethernet switches arranged in a tree structure. That is called a static architecture and is incompatible with the dynamic computing and storage needs of current enterprise data centers and carrier environments.
• Public and private cloud services for enterprises have observed unprecedented growth, adding flexibility of computing since its inception. Enterprise business units now demand the accessibility of applications, infrastructure, and other IT resources. This self-service provisioning, whether in a private or public cloud, requires elasticity in computing, storage, and network resources ideally from a common viewpoint.
• The goals of SDA are to allow an efficient use of resources, providing capex reduction. It should be agile enough in provisioning and allocating resources, and provide apace delivery of services along with automated operation.

Software-defined network architecture is a medium for transmission that acts as a smart system, which centralizes resource management in a network—allows administrator to manage traffic responsively and efficiently. In a similar way, for continuously developing and testing large-scale software system, you’d perhaps require to perform tasks in an automated manner. Bolstering up all, SDA constructs a virtual end point; orchestrates workflows, which results in powered connection of a vast array of consumers to complex backend systems while simultaneously disguising complexity.

Web Scaling with SDA

The emergence of SDA structure is a new step in existing IT trend. Today, the challenge is to create architectural solutions that are in harmony with the demands of businesses across the various industries. Also as aforementioned, SDA is the new avatar of “Web Scale” computing. Both technologies, Web Scale and SDA, have become prime factors for businesses to function as digital entities. SDA alters the implementation of Web Scale and empowers it in aspiring to new heights of agility and scalability. With the migration of systems to the cloud, architects interlink them—that used to be specific to physical equipment or distinct software and data sources—using software. Software-defined Networking (SDN), Software-defined Storage (SDS), and the Software-Defined Datacenter (SDDC) are among few examples. SDN virtualizes the connections between systems and networks replacing physical connections with software. SDS does the same thing for storage capacity, and all of them together contribute to the high degree of flexibility in SDA, allowing it to engage deepest with potentially very large groups of customers and third parties.

SDA works when there is a unification of architecture and technology, as well as people and process. Often, regardless of the possible innovations, it's imperative that enterprises today don't adhere to the status quo while competitors take advantage of the newfangled opportunities. Also, rather than concentrating on how an SDA can be implemented, an enterprise must heed to the problems the architecture can address and the outcomes it may provide. Switching to this technology could be a toilsome changeover for many organizations, followed by cumulative changes in how IT operates.  However, getting SDA to deliver next generation, a global-class of computing is as much about technology as it is about the people and processes involved.