The Benefits of Software-Defined Networking in the Modern IT Landscape
A software-defined network enables greater flexibility, programmability, and manageability. From a management perspective, SDN can reduce operating and administrative costs through centralized control.
Administrators can use an open standard software controller to manage a wide range of hardware devices instead of manually programming each device. It allows enterprises to increase capacity without purchasing additional hardware.
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IT networking trends like cloud computing, IT-as-a-service, and user mobility are pushing the network to unprecedented limits. These demands require a dynamic network supporting business expansion without risking service disruptions.
Software-defined networking makes that possible. By centralizing network control and providing state information to applications, an SDN infrastructure can make changes on the fly that would be impossible in a traditional network.
When a device experiences an outage, SDN can quickly reroute traffic away from that network area and maintain connectivity for your users. It’s also easy to scale the security policies deployed across an SDN, as there is no need for proprietary hardware and a myriad of individual devices to implement and update security controls. In addition, centralized intelligence allows IT teams to simplify configurations through automation and change policy settings across the network – between data centers or in the public cloud. Those capabilities enable greater visibility into network activity and help to detect suspicious behavior that may indicate a cybersecurity attack. It allows faster response time and prevents the spread of malware within the network.
In traditional networks, the control plane resides inside the switch and dictates where data goes. An SDN moves the control plane to a central controller, enabling network engineers to shape traffic from a centralized console without touching individual switches. It gives IT teams the flexibility to respond to business demands quickly and improve service delivery.
For example, suppose you want to increase network capacity during a spike in demand. In that case, it’s possible to do so from a centralized SDN controller without upgrading or monitoring each switch. IT teams can also reduce the number of specialized hardware appliances, such as firewalls and load balancers, required to manage traffic flow.
In addition to increased flexibility, software-defined networking makes it easier to deploy new functionality within the network. It is significant for businesses that rely on technology to do their work.
Software-defined networking makes changing network behavior in lockstep easier with business changes. It enables IT to quickly and easily add or move applications without worrying about the impact on hardware.
This flexibility comes from separating the control plane (which decides where to send traffic) from the data plane (which carries out these decisions and forwards data). IT can do this from a central location rather than touching every piece of hardware to update the software.
In addition, a single SDN controller can see the status of all switches connected to it. It provides centralized visibility and allows the SDN controller to distribute policies to all the connected switches, saving time versus configuring each individually.
The SDN approach also enables businesses to use white-box hardware, which can lower both CAPEX and OPEX costs. Finally, IT can increase network capacity without investing in new hardware. It is because it can upgrade the software rather than the physical infrastructure, which reduces cost and downtime. It contrasts traditional networks, where buying more hardware is the only way to expand bandwidth.
Software-defined networking technology can centrally control the devices that make up a network infrastructure. It can help organizations save on hardware costs and lower maintenance costs.
With SDN, administrators can manage devices based on their function rather than the device model or vendor. This flexibility makes it easier to optimize commoditized hardware while providing more visibility into network traffic.
The ability to automatically reroute communications in case of an outage is another advantage that SDN offers. It helps businesses avoid putting critical data at risk and improves security by directing suspicious data to firewalls or intrusion detection systems.
SDN also simplifies the management of devices throughout a network by allowing the controller to communicate directly with applications through APIs. It means a single software application can take over the task of monitoring thousands of cellular routers, for example. The result is less time spent managing devices and more resources available for IT projects supporting business growth. It can include expanding to remote locations, adopting cloud computing, and supporting the Internet of Things devices.
SDN allows for robust security by separating the network control plane from the data plane. The control plane decides how packets should be sent across the network, while the data plane sends them to their destinations. A central controller controls the control plane, and the data plane can run on any hardware device.
Network administrators can also deploy security policies to switches without having to deal with specialized appliances such as firewalls, intrusion detection systems, and load balancers. Instead, an administrator must communicate with a single SDN controller to distribute the policies throughout the network.
It makes it easier to manage the entire network and reduces the risk of misconfiguration or policy inconsistencies that could lead to network failure. SDN also brings an era of openness to networking, allowing intelligent software to interact with multiple vendors’ hardware devices through standard, open programmatic interfaces. It makes it possible to transform today’s static networks into flexible, programmable service delivery platforms that respond rapidly to changing business and end-user demands.