Weigh up the risk
Teams should start by investigating SDN, including trialling the products of incumbent and new vendors. As alluded to earlier they need to conduct due diligence on their suppliers to help ensure they are complementary from a cultural and product perspective.
For an SDN project, a generic infrastructure upgrade is not enough to justify the investment. Organisations need to develop and justify cases for software-defined networks to support specific projects or initiatives. These cases should go beyond cost savings and efficiencies to include new revenue opportunities. A thorough testing program is also required to determine whether a product fulfils the vendor's promises and is compatible with an organisations' technology environment.
Finally, organisations need to take stock of legacy equipment and infrastructure, including associated systems and tools. Existing equipment should be run to the end of its life to minimise any risk of compromising returns on investments.
For organisations looking to innovate to remain competitive in increasingly globalised markets, SDN facilitates the path to success. The architecture dispenses with many of the limitations of conventional networks and supports unlocking the potential of surging data volumes and the IoT. Those organisations that adopt a prudent approach to deploying SDN will be assisted in quickly launching new functionality and services to their customers while helping to reduce capital and operating costs.
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