Dimension Data > Networking > Towards a software-defined programmable digital infrastructure

Towards a software-defined programmable digital infrastructure

The rate of change business is having to face is rapid, and shows no signs of slowing down. Technology’s core value lies in its ability to enable business, but this does not necessarily mean adopting a technology-centric approach. In fact, it means adopting a business-focussed approach to building your infrastructure. IT leaders need to start laying the foundations for a fit-for-purpose infrastructure that supports a new data paradigm: one where digital transformation is the goal, and at its core lies data.

To support these next-generation digital enterprises that are putting a focus on creating a business-focussed infrastructure, next-generation automation and process management is required.

According to the IDG, software-defined networking (SDN) has emerged in the last few years as an architectural approach that enables organisations to accelerate application deployment and delivery and thus dramatically reduce IT costs through policy-driven workflow automation. This new technology supports a wide range of cloud architectures and enables scalable, automated, and on-demand delivery of mobility and applications. SDN adds additional benefits on top of data centre virtualisation by increasing network agility and utilisation while reducing infrastructure costs and operational expenses.

SDN provides levels of speed and agility which super charge network infrastructure, transforming traditional IT into Fast IT. Software-defined networking is an architectural approach to networking that separates the data control and application planes. This separation enables the intelligence of a network device to be split from the packet-forwarding engine and controlled centrally while data transport is distributed. In addition, SDN allows applications to programmatically interface with the network for improved control, automation, and orchestration of network behaviour. Much of the confusion surrounding SDN, especially in the enterprise, is not about the merits of the technology. Rather, the confusion is about what SDN means for the enterprise, how SDN will impact the IT environment and culture, what business benefits can be derived, and when the transition or transformation of network environments to SDN architecture can begin.

SDN as a topic is gaining a lot of interest from enterprises. Most organisations, while ready to have a conversation around SDN, are struggling with understanding SDN better, appreciating the trends related to SDN, and making the technology work in real-life environments. A typical organisation also struggles with making ICT more agile and responsive to fast-changing business requirements and orienting the delivery of services to business outcomes. There is demand for delivering more services from the cloud and a need to establish better workflows that accommodate more stakeholders across an organisation.

Software-defined networking is set to change networks for good. Local area networks, wide area networks, data centre networks, and service provider networks are becoming more intelligent, programmable, and automated. In time, they’ll be centrally controlled through software and no longer manually configured at the device level. Networking devices are themselves changing to be an active element of this software based environment.

Are you ready to start on the software-defined networking journey? Answer 12 simple questions to find out. Alternatively, you can read more on SDN in this IDG whitepaper: Making SDN Real for Enterprises.

Brent Angus

Brent is the General Manager for the Networking Business Unit, Dimension Data Asia Pacific