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7 advantages of software-defined networking solutions

November 30, 2021

7 advantages of software-defined networking solutions
The bigger promise of software-defined networking solutions (including software-defined WAN) and software-defined networks is that they centralize and simplify control of enterprise network management, whether across one network or a larger geographical area. But what are some SD-WAN benefits and advantages of software-defined networking solutions? Different vendors are making different claims, but the most commonly cited advantages include traffic programmability, greater agility, the ability to create policy- driven network supervision and implementing network automation. In short—these solutions allow networks to keep pace with the speed of change.
 
Another advantage is the ability to create a framework supporting more data-intensive applications like big data and virtualization. The adoption of virtualization is being driven by big data, and software-defined networking solutions provide the means to manage virtual machines and big data network traffic.
 
Here’s a list of 7 specific advantages of software-defined networking solutions:
 
1. Centralized network provisioning
A centralized view of the entire network makes it easier to consolidate enterprise management and provisioning. For example, more VLANs are becoming part of physical LANs, creating a Gordian knot of links and dependencies. By abstracting the control and data planes, software-defined networking solutions can accelerate service delivery and provide more agility in provisioning both virtual and physical network devices from a central location.
 
2. Holistic enterprise management
Enterprise networks have to set up new applications and virtual machines on demand to accommodate new processing requests such as those for big data. Software-defined networking solutions allow IT managers to experiment with network configuration without impacting the network. These solutions also support management of both physical and virtual switches and network devices from a central controller (something you can’t do with SNMP) while providing a single set of APIs to create a management console for both physical and virtual devices.
 
3. More granular security
Another advantage that appeals to most IT managers is centralized security. Virtualization has made network management more challenging. With virtual machines coming and going as part of physical systems, it’s more difficult to consistently apply firewall and content filtering policies. When you add in complexities such as securing BYOD devices, the security problem is compounded.
 
A software-defined networking solutions controller provides a central point of control to distribute security and policy information consistently throughout the enterprise. Centralizing security control into one entity, like the controller, has the disadvantage of creating a central point of attack, however you can manage security throughout the enterprise when implemented securely and properly.
 
4. Lower operating costs
Administrative efficiency, improvements in server utilization, better control of virtualization and other benefits should result in operational savings. Although it is still early to show real proof of savings, software-defined networking solutions should lower overall operating costs and result in administrative savings since many of the routine network administration issues can be centralized and automated.
 
5. Hardware savings and reduced capital expenditures
Breathing new life into existing network devices is now a possibility as well.
 
You can optimize commoditized hardware, and existing hardware can be repurposed using instructions from the software-defined networking solutions controller. Less expensive hardware can then be deployed to greater effect since new devices essentially become “white box” switches with all the intelligence centered at the controller.
 
6. Cloud abstraction
Cloud computing is here to stay and evolving into a unified infrastructure. Software- defined networking solutions can abstract cloud resources so it’s easier to unify them. The networking components that make up massive data center platforms can all be managed from a network controller.
 
7. Guaranteed content delivery
The ability to shape and control data traffic is another great advantage. Being able to direct and automate data traffic makes it easier to implement quality of services (QoS) for voice over IP and multimedia transmissions. Streaming high quality video is easier thanks to improved network responsiveness that ensures a flawless user experience.
 
The effectiveness of these benefits will vary from network to network, but there are still network abstraction advantages in network administration and automation for nearly any network. The first step is to assess a network’s components and infrastructure to determine how software-defined networking solutions can help address things like resource availability, virtualization and network security.
 
For questions about SD-WAN benefits, or how software-defined networks and software-defined WANs can help optimize your customers’ data centers, visit our resource page today.
 
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