Software-Defined Networking By Brocade

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Editor’s note: The following article is solely written and produced by Sean Ong, Country Manager, Brocade Malaysia. 

Myths and misinformation are a defining characteristic of many high-level, game-changing tech trends and this has been especially true of software-defined networking.

With all the buzz surrounding SDN, it’s just as easy to get lost in the naysaying as it is to get lost in the hype. Let’s look at some of the most common myths spread about this technology.

1. SDN is just for large cloud data centers
There are some who dismiss SDN as being solely for large-scale data centers—those that provide cloud services that are public, private or hybrid. But the reality is that SDN is suitable for all levels of data centers, making configuration, management and monitoring a much simpler task, thus requiring less IT manpower. This is an even more critical concern in smaller organizations without the IT infrastructure of a huge business.

2. SDN implementation will cost jobs
While SDN-enabled environments will require less hands-on effort to keep them up and running compared to traditional networking environments, this doesn’t mean the positions required to keep the network running will be lost. Rather, those IT talents will be redirected into other areas, allowing for a greater focus on innovation and more flexibility in responding to new IT challenges.

3. It’s just about CAPEX/OPEX reduction.
Even if it were, would that be so wrong? Both technologies have been promoted on the basis of cost savings: true. But, the long-term benefits also allow organizations to quickly implement changes to the network, respond rapidly to top business needs and roll out new technology or business initiatives without needing to revisit hardware purchases and when those do come, they are far simpler to roll out. So SDN isn’t simply about today’s costs, it’s about tomorrow’s innovations as well.

4. I’ve already set up virtualized servers. My job here is done.
Extending the principals of server virtualization to the network — by replacing traditional, dedicated hardware with a more flexible virtualized network infrastructure — means more of the same valuable benefits. As the network becomes more server-centric, SDN enables the network to extend into the server and provide proper management and visibility of inter-server traffic. Who doesn’t want more visibility and control?

5. Implementing SDN means replacing your data center network all at once.
While you could replace your entire networking infrastructure with an SDN-enabled environment on day one, that certainly isn’t a requirement for successful SDN deployment.

There are any numbers of ways to migrate from a traditional networking infrastructure to SDN. This can be as straightforward as making SDN devices the choice for your networking components as part of your existing hardware refresh plan or deploying SDN whenever new equipment is added for new projects or infrastructure growth. SDN easily coexists with existing networking technologies, and implementing in a stepped process can ease your anxiety.

6. SDN just isn’t ready for prime time.
SDN is more than just hype or beta technology at this point. It is well established in production environments and is being shipped regularly by major networking vendors. Even those with a large base of proprietary hardware already in the market have all started introducing SDN-enabled equipment.

And this isn’t some pre-emptive attempt to minimize SDN’s importance to the future of networking by implying it’s just another networking technology, but a recognition that SDN is redefining the networking landscape and therefore a necessary part of any future business model.