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Is your approach to SDN putting lipstick on your network pig?

Andrew Hindmarch, Director, Asia Pacific Networking, Avaya | July 16, 2015
Most early iterations of SDN are closer to putting a band-aid on a bullet wound than a true fix, ultimately delivering more complexity than agility, says Andrew Hindmarch of Avaya.

We have to rethink our approach to SDN. We have to think about delivering the promise of simplicity beyond the data center. We have to make it easier for devices to connect securely to the enterprise network. We need to fundamentally rethink how to design networks for the next generation.

What if the network was simply a dynamic series of plug-in points?That, when IT personnel connect anything to the network, the network automatically handles traditionally manual network functions? A fabric approach from the data centre to the edge can do this and automates much of the networking functionality through software.

Businesses need to look for technology that allows third-party devices to connect securely to networks via an adapter that provides automated and dynamic connectivity, mobility, and customised security based on the device identity. All services and security policies follow the device and the adapter. This removes the burden of installation from IT, allowing end users to simply connect to the network, assured that the configuration is automatically handled.

In addition, the approach to SDN also needs to allow remote workers, from care teams to customer service agents, to connect seamlessly to corporate networks without compromising necessary controls, including access and identity and call service quality monitoring. That means delivering remote device management and providing service quality monitoring, but also enabling agents to be moved to secured network environments on the fly without IT intervention to increase security and reduce operational cost.

What started as a whisper deep in the data centre has grown louder and spread to the networks demanding a simpler way to exist. Tired of the complexity and costs of legacy networks, CIOs are looking to SDN to handle increasing demands from sophisticated applications and nimble users. But, most early iterations of SDN are closer to putting a band-aid on a bullet wound than a true fix, ultimately delivering more complexity than agility.

Not all SDN iterations are equal, nor can any architecture deliver on all business needs. Companies need to understand their biggest challenges and select a solution that tackles those needs. Armed with this knowledge, businesses will know what an architecture can deliver in reality, and what's simply a myth.


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