Software Defined Networking: Now, Never, Don’t Know? Part 7

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In part 6 of this series, I covered the obstacles involved with deploying SDN. In this part, I’ll discuss the kinds of changes companies will need to make for successful deployment.

To deploy SDN there are a number of pre-requisite changes – both technical and organizational.  The most fundamental and problematic changes involve the need for interdisciplinary teams – the boundaries between business drivers, applications teams, server teams and network teams become blurred.

For example, for effective SDN the network team will need an understanding of an application’s network footprint (bandwidth, QoS requirements, security settings, etc).  Similarly the server team will need an understanding of the network infrastructure in terms of packing applications onto virtual machines and migrating these around the data center.  In order to orchestrate the end-to-end application flows, the network team are likely to require some programming skills not just networking knowledge.  The provisioning of new network overlays fits well within a DevOps environment where new applications require new overlays to be designed, implemented, QA’d and brought into production with greater rapidity than in a more traditional organisation.

Clearly with SDN, the way in which networks are designed, implemented and maintained (including everyday troubleshooting, break-fix, network expansion, etc.) will change, requiring new security models and new network architectures.  Underpinning this will be new and different network monitoring tools.

In the next part of this series, I’ll talk about the key requirements for a successful SDN.


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