Put SDN to work in your data center

by CDW Financial Services|Oct 20, 2016

As a recent CDW Solutions blog post explains, software-defined networking (SDN) is now being viewed as a foundation to many new and emerging technologies that simplify and unify data center operations.

Many organizations adopted server storage virtualization years ago to consolidate data center resources, but they continued to physically manage configure network switches. Experts and analysts agree that SDN investments are now on the rise. Earlier this year, eWeek noted that the market is predicted to grow quickly over the next few years – to $11.5 billion by 2020.

Unlocking Data’s Potential with SDN

Data in all formats increasingly informs how financial services organizations conduct business. And, if recent trends are any indication, the collection and utilization of data will continue to impact how banks, credit unions and capital markets firms remain competitive and relevant.

SDN is aimed at making networks as agile and flexible as the virtualized server and storage infrastructure of the modern data center. SDN can also automate changes within the infrastructure so data is handled in the most efficient manner possible. It can also increase collaboration between internal IT teams (e.g. network/server/application administrators) and reduce configuration time related to network appliances and servers as data increases in volume or the types of data traversing the network change.

Putting SDN to Work for Your Organization

As Rita Younger, National Practice Lead for SDN and ACI at CDW points out in her post, moving to a software-defined approach demands commitments. She highlights the following five things to keep in mind when transitioning to SDN:

  • Align the infrastructure.Most organizations face an early choice between ACI and NSX. A committed VMware shop may find NSX to be an attractive solution. For an enterprise aligned on Cisco gear and committed to deep network integration, ACI may be the choice. In some instances, organizations adopt both.
  • Improve the network.Incumbent switches and network ports may need to be updated to serve a virtualized SDN environment. A data center refresh is a typical time we see SDN deployed for the first time.
  • Build experience.IT staff should be exposed to SDN concepts and practices. Online tutorials and training resources can help to ensure that the network team is ready.
  • Manage expectations.All stakeholders should be involved in an SDN transition, not just the network team. SDN provides important benefits — including robust security — that users in other business and IT disciplines may not be able to appreciate without a proper introduction. Network administrators should educate their peers ahead of the transition.
  • Point to the future.With SDN in place, the stage is set to enable an SDDC and private cloud. Robust automation and orchestration enable full, self-service provisioning and charge-back, allowing quick spin-ups and easy retirement of resources.

Ready to learn more? Click here to read the full CDW Solutions blog post “Are you ready for software-defined networking” and listen to our podcast “A closer look at software-defined networking”.

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