Monday, May 23rd, 2022

Now is the time to migrate to SDN to Reduce Costs

Network migration to SDN

In the modern data center, software-defined networking (SDN) has become the core because the technology offers too many benefits to ignore. However, SDN migration must be carefully planned. Here are the steps to take.

The chances are that even if you’re unaware of it, you’re already using software-defined networking (SDN) unless you have a very simple network and nothing in the cloud. Whenever you sign up for a virtual server from a cloud-based Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) provider, you’re leveraging software-defined technology. If you sign up for Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google Cloud, or any other public cloud service, the virtualized instances communicate with you and the rest of the world through a software-defined network.

However, that may not be the case in your own data center. It has been estimated that only about a quarter of on-premises networks use software-defined anything, and if they do, it is usually on a partial or siloed basis. One word sums up all the reasons: inertia. But fear comes close behind.

Software-Defined Networks: What Is It?

There are currently switches, routers, and other network devices in your data center and throughout your company, each with its own purpose. Although they’re managed by network management software, these devices have their own management software, often proprietary operating systems, and they need their own troubleshooting schema, which can be quite complicated.

Reduced Network Costs with Software-Defined Networking

In addition to cost savings, SDN will also provide long-term benefits. That is often a significant expense even for midsized businesses. In the long run, replacing your existing infrastructure with programmable hardware will be cheaper than replacing it with non-programmable hardware.

From a resource perspective, SDN should be easier to deploy because you don’t have to hire an engineer with specialized knowledge of your gear. Instead, you need someone who knows how to manage the hypervisor layer and the virtual infrastructure management tool, both of which are often based on Linux. Additionally, generic software-defined networking switches and other networking appliances are less expensive since they do not require proprietary licenses and support contracts. In the hands of networking experts, they’re often safer as well, since these people can build fully customized or app-optimized routers and switches from generic templates.

Be Careful When Planning Software-Defined Networks

Despite the hype, SDN represents a paradigm shift in network management and operations, and any such change should be carefully planned. Four suggestions are provided here:

  1. The first thing to do is to think about what your network topology will look like in a couple of years. What features and functions will you need in the future?”
  2. “Do you want it in-house or as a service?” You now have the option to get your networking services from vendors ranging from Cisco to HPE.
  3. “Look at what other people in your industry are doing. See what is changing or not changing.”
  4. Next, you should speak to a network consultant, or if you have a dedicated shop, such as one with only Cisco equipment, then you should contact Cisco, or whatever company provides your infrastructure. Since many of them have invested in SDN, it makes sense to look there early on.

You can apply the same calculations you used when choosing a cloud service to SDN. Is it cheaper to pay someone to manage your network, along with buying the infrastructure, or the monthly cost of networking as a service?

Making the network switch doesn’t mean closing your business. It is possible to migrate your network over time, bringing software-defined networking to those areas that need it most, such as video, business-class voice over IP (VoIP), or virtualized servers in the data center, and then expanding it to other parts of your legacy network.

The trend toward software-defined networks is just beginning.

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