SDN meets the real world, part two: SDN rewrites the WAN manual

Table of Contents

  1. Summary
  2. Introduction
  3. Current WAN constraints
  4. Applying SDN to the WAN
  5. Leveraging SDN: case studies
  6. Key takeaways
  7. About Ben Kepes

1. Summary

Software-defined networking (SDN) is rapidly being accepted as the most logical way to approach a data center’s networking needs. SDN’s ability to abstract data-center networking operations away from the underlying hardware decreases costs, reduces time-to-market, and greatly increases the flexibility that organizations have when looking at their networking needs.

Wide-area networking (WAN), the part of the enterprise network between applications and end-users, is traditionally slow, expensive, and inflexible — and hence, ripe for innovative new approaches. SDN is broadly applicable to other parts of the networking requirement, so offering up a pool of resources that can be programmatically controlled by software should be explored in different contexts and settings.

This report lays out a conceptual approach whereby SDN can be applied to the WAN to drive cost savings, agility, and flexibility for enterprise customers. It will help IT executives and network teams understand how the growing SDN trend permits more flexible networking and agile IT departments.

Key findings include:

  • SDN has been applied to problems with data-center networking, but is also applicable to comparable peripheral services.
  • WAN deployments are typically complex to configure and deploy, inflexible, and offer a low return on investment.
  • Applying the SDN framework to WAN deployment increases flexibility and decreases costs.


Thumbnail image courtesy: iStock/Thinkstock

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