Where will software-defined networking be useful?
It’s not always easy to predict how and where a new technology will be used. Every organisation is different, and the best use cases are often discovered by those who actually start using the technology in a live environment. Software-defined networking is a good example. This new way of networking is touted as a huge development that will change the face of networks forever. But exactly how that might play out in individual organisations we’ll have to wait and see.
One area in which we can say – with a fair degree of certainty – that software-defined networking will make a marked and useful difference, is in automating the data centre. Here in particular, the network has become a bottleneck for an otherwise flexible and easily scalable environment that consists of ‘moveable’ virtual machines. The network serving and connecting these virtual machines is still as static and hardwired as it used to be – it’s just not flexible enough to meet the demands of a constantly changing environment. When a virtual machine needs to move from one physical device to another, for example, the network has to be configured manually to accommodate the change and allow the relevant policies to move along with the machine.
Automation is equally applicable in the LAN and WAN environments where, currently, devices need to be connected, moved, and adjusted by hand. Software-defined networking – and the automation it makes possible – will make the day-to-day tasks of the typical network engineer both easier and less time-consuming, and will result in significant operational cost savings.