When looking at the network transformation towards software-defined IT, SDN can be identified as one of the key stimulators of development. According to the Open Networking Foundation (ONF), SDN is even considered `an emerging architecture with dynamic, manageable, cost-effective and adaptable characteristics´ (ONF, 2017). All this makes SDN perfectly suitable for high-bandwidth and the dynamic nature of today’s applications. Looking closer at the architecture of SDN, it becomes clear that it decouples network control and makes it easily programmable. Hereby, `The OpenFlow protocol is a foundational element for building SDN solutions´ (ONF, 2017).
SDN enables the move from hardware centric to software-defined, using high compute power commercial of the shelf hardware platforms, which make proprietary hardware solutions unneeded. Moreover, SDN is also driven by the desire of having a dynamic, agile, secure and automated network, in comparison to hierarchical traditional networks, which are built with ethernet switches arranged in a tree shape. Last was reasonable when client-server computing was dominant, but such a static architecture is not suitable for the dynamic computing and storage needs of today’s enterprise and carrier services providers.
Furthermore, SDN virtualizes the network and allows other users (apart from network engineers) to program the overlay network components and develop dynamical provision networks on demand. Network services that once took several days to configure can now be fulfilled in real time through a self-service approach. Hereby, SDN offers a variety of benefits:
- Faster service provisioning;
- Simpler, self-service network creation;
- Reduced service costs;
- More control over current infrastructure.
Remain competitive by choosing SDN
Summing up, with the help of SDN service providers will be able to remain competitive, as well as responsive to evolving markets and traffic in a quick time frame. This means, SDN enables network service providers to quickly deploy software applications, which allow new revenue generating services, that can be brought to the market in shorter timescales.
To conclude, with the explosion of mobile devices and content, as well as server virtualization, cloud big data and services, traffic and bandwidth increases, wherefore the network industry is forced to re-examine traditional network architectures. Hereby, SDN can help to raise business value through offering additional benefits as reduced network-provisioning time, a simplified network creation process in a self-service environment and reduced service costs through improved network management efficiency.