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Q&A with Mahesh Natarajan: The need for SDN

Nurdianah Md Nur | Dec. 20, 2013
Besides talking about the benefits of SDN, Dell’s Mahesh Natarajan also explains the reasons for the slow adoption rate of SDN for enterprises in the region.

With these benefits in mind, organisations do need to consider how much they are able to harness SDN for the business, when to implement SDN and naturally, the risks to implementing SDN.

In reality, enterprises are going to need SDN sooner or later as the cost of operating exponentially expanding networks of information is becoming too high and too complicated for manual labour to sustain. In other words, the status quo, which was built on conventional legacy equipment, is no longer sustainable due to the changes in today's data centre as outlined above. However, given its infancy stages, SDN is still gaining momentum and the industry is still evolving, which has resulted in a wait-and-see approach for many businesses.

Will SDN help with network security challenges, or will it cause its own set of security problems?
Security is also another key issue in deploying SDN. Although the technology allows for granular security and gives the IT manager a macroscopic perspective of the enterprise network, this also means that the controller, being the central-nerve system of the SDN-enabled network, must be secured at all costs. A slight slip in security might make the entire system vulnerable to malicious attacks.

While there are several measures available for organisations to circumvent this challenge, this does not provide the same level of security as a layer that is built in within the solution offering right from the start.

How are Dell's SDN offerings different from that of its competitors?
At Dell, we are challenging conventional wisdom with new products and solutions designed to accelerate our customers' migration to virtualised and cloud data centre environments.

Today, while most vendors promote one approach or the other and force customers to make a choice, Dell is one of the only vendors to offer a complete and unbiased approach to SDN encompassing networking virtualisation overlays (NVO), OpenFlow and legacy interface capabilities. This is due to our open strategy where Dell Networking plays an integral role in how we deliver innovative end-to-end IT solutions including servers, storage and converged infrastructures, giving our customers the power to do more. In fact, SDN is a logical extension to Dell's Active Fabric solutions, which provide enhanced network flexibility. The software abstraction layer that SDN delivers is designed to enable open programmability, making infrastructure flexible and adaptable to different customer environments.

Dell's holistic approach to SDN meets the needs of network operators today by providing a comprehensive suite of modular solutions that are designed to easily integrate into existing environments without the headaches and costs typically associated with the integration of new technologies.

Dell's networking solutions deliver a uniquely hybrid architecture that enables a traditionally configured network to provide SDN features as granularly as a single port at a time.


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