SDN Will Move Mainstream
2013 saw the elevation of cloud computing as fundamental to business strategy. IT leaders now need to rethink the role of the network to deliver on the promise of the cloud.
As enterprises begin to realize the benefits of the cloud, and as deployment and orchestration systems such as OpenStack and CloudStack mature, managing data centers will be about managing cloud workflows.
Both enterprises and service providers are looking to the cloud to help them move their businesses forward. For enterprises the cloud makes workloads and applications more dynamic, but before they can take advantage of this benefit they need an infrastructure which is optimized for private and public cloud services. Service providers, be they the traditional network service providers or cloud service providers, need a quick way to deliver new services and improve the time-to-revenue.
SDN paving the way
A recent technology trend to evaluate is software defined networking (SDN). With a lot of hype surrounding SDN, CIOs are wondering if betting big on SDN will impact their operations and the bottom-line.
Organizations are looking to the cloud to increase business agility and innovation. But they will need the right solution to control their cloud networks. SDN is designed to merge the network into the age of the cloud.
SDN is already being implemented by Web 2.0 companies such as Google and Facebook which have outlined their strategies for and commitment to the technology. Other global companies will undoubtedly follow suit, and as disruptive industry trends like mobility, cloud, social business and big data continue to stretch IT budgets, SDN will move toward the mainstream in 2014. It will become essential for companies to adopt solutions that bridge the physical and virtual, and encourage SDN to flourish while protecting existing hardware investments.
Changing role of a CIO
While CIOs will always have the bottom-line in mind, it is also important to experiment. Too often CIOs and IT departments are so pragmatic or so ROI-centric that they miss innovation opportunities. The beginning stages of a technology trend often provide the best opportunity to work with vendors and get your enterprise requirements met for the long-term, hence the role of the CIO won’t be restricted to being a technology evangelist—he would also need to don the hat of an entrepreneur. Just a great grasp of a technology won’t suffice without a tangible assessment of the value it delivers to the business.
Security is one of the biggest problems facing a CIO. The ability to get the ear of a CIO or CISO and present a compelling story which can map security requirements to business goals is what organizations should be aiming for.
Opportunities in SDN
While SDN has made its way through the hype cycle mostly in the data center and enterprise environments, service providers are eying the abstraction of physical resources for more flexibility, faster service spin-up and easier management. Some carriers have already announced their intent to demand more software solutions from suppliers. In 2014 expect to see the term ‘network functions virtualization’ thrown around in more than just a theoretical capacity. Carriers will actually start implementing such measures.
Meanwhile, built-in network intelligence and analytics will continue to become more sophisticated and automated. Organizations will have the ability to proactively monitor network traffic on all ports and detect micro-bursts of traffic which will allow data center network administrators to identify potential network hotspots. As a result, organizations will be able to adapt to the changing needs of their networks, and workloads can be redistributed to cool down hotspots and prevent network congestion from impacting overall application delivery.