In the previous report in this series, “Getting your organization ready for SDN: Part I,” we laid out the business case for software-defined networking (SDN). A network actively, reactively, and proactively defined by software is far more ready than one constructed of static devices, connections, and configurations. With SDN, the network advances ahead of the rising demands of connected users and resources, IT is relieved of pressure across multiple fronts because the network can be tuned to need, network operating parameters and policies can be adjusted to provide the best service in response to oncoming end-user demands, the network can be highly customized and dynamically tuned by software so it can deliver the greatest business value, services expand not only in network intelligence but also network interaction, and the network becomes a programmable resource that can be adjusted as conditions and demands shift.
So how do you prepare your organization for SDN? A good first step is to examine your present networking environment and network support practices.
- Staying ahead of the software management challenge will be critical for success.
- Because of the intense demands of delivering complete and competitive controller/device/application solutions, those operators that favor a single-vendor approach will be forced to widen their vendor choices.
- SDN solutions will be expected to match or exceed the performance levels of traditional hardware-based networking solutions, even though SDN solutions will be asked to do more with less.
- The SDN solution immediately will be compared to the pre-SDN environment, so deployment must deliver positive results from day one.
- Suppliers should keep things simple, meaning simple to evaluate, simple to pay, simple to deploy, simple to integrate, simple to operate, and simple to upgrade.
- Examining your present networking environment and network support practices
- Networking and computing hardware inventory
- Software systems and practices
- Your application profile
- Networking and computing: a closer coupling
- The multi-vendor network imperative
- Passing judgment on SDN solutions
- Performance, performance, performance
- Proven interoperability and ready integration
- Incremental adoption, immediate impact, increased service life
- Operational simplicity masking service sophistication
- Support excellence: self-serve, software, and ecosystem
- Data acceleration: the new software network model at work
- Silver Peak: virtual service vs. physical appliance
- The software decision: key takeaways for SDN
- Common problems, common criteria, common concerns
- Immediate impact and future expectations
- Words of advice
- Final thoughts
- About Mark Leary
- About GigaOM Research