Technology & Innovation

Ten reasons for embracing SDN as part of digital transformation

By Tony Judd, Managing Director, Enterprise EMEA at Verizon
Technology & Innovation
Published: 13 September 2017

With many organisations focusing on digital transformation initiatives, enterprise networks are being used in new ways that are stretching their existing capabilities – sometimes to breaking point. The emergence of technologies such as cloud applications and AI-driven robotics, highlight the need for next generation networks, which are more flexible and able to keep pace with changes in capacity and usage. Software Defined Networking (SDN) is key to this. SDN helps organisations satiate these needs by enabling networks to be managed more dynamically and scaling capacity on an ad-hoc basis; ensuring they always meet business demands in a cost-effective way.

To help organisations understand how SDN can fit in with their network strategies, we’ve put together 10 reasons why businesses should be embracing SDN as part of their digital transformation:

  1. Simplify network complexity to increase agility: SDN allows enterprises to keep up with the changing nature of their businesses – enabling them to be more responsive to users, customers and market opportunities. SDN technology can simplify the networking complexity resulting from the increased movement of apps across mobile and cloud platforms to help keep the organisation more agile.
  2. Scale up or down automatically: A robust SDN strategy enables a network to be elastic and flexible enough to handle high traffic demands during the busiest times, while prioritising the most important applications and reducing congestion through intelligent automation.
  3. Contain costs: Intelligent network solutions can be deployed to provide connectivity to the cloud on an as-needed basis to keep costs under control, which allows organisations to pay for the service they us; extending the cloud consumption model to also cover the network connectivity layer.
  4. Virtualise the network: Fundamentally, SDN is about separating how data is controlled (data intelligence) from the flow of the data. In an SDN environment, the intelligence behind how to treat data is separated from the actual physical transmission of the data. This abstraction allows enterprises to benefit from network function virtualisation: moving many of the network jobs that currently exist as dedicated physical devices into software instead.
  5. Open testbed: Using a SDN solution will allow IT teams to test new processes without impacting the network, thus making it easier to implement new solutions as part of a digital transformation strategy.
  6. Harness the power of predictive analytics: Businesses can stay one step ahead by not only accessing information on how applications are performing in the network, but also using that data to explore what parameters could be changed to further improve an application’s performance.
  7. Build more sophisticated solutions: Security threats are increasing and pushing enterprises to implement multiple enhanced solutions to counter security threats. SDN allows for more sophisticated solutions, coupled with an analytics layer, which addresses the problem of vendor lock-in.
  8. Protecting the perimeter: Bake security into the network layer to help protect against potential breaches of business-critical data, with tools such as the Software Defined Perimeter (SDP) which takes an “non-discoverability” approach to enable secure access to devices and applications across a public cloud.
  9. Enable centralised management: Centralised management allows for more agile operations and execution, which, in turn, helps control costs. Also, full end-to-end service automation enables provisioning of network resources – reducing errors and improving service levels, while using API’s to deliver seamless near real-time management of the network functions and traffic.
  10. A deeper, richer experience: SDN gives enterprises access to a more sophisticated network feature set and service experience that help improve operational efficiency by implementing functionality at the speed of software.

Software defined networking is the key that businesses will require to unlock the full potential of their digital transformation initiatives. Without it, new solutions will fall flat as they won’t be backed by enterprise networks that can cope with rising demand and required flexibility – not to mention the increased cost when traditional networks are used. Being able to dynamically manage capacity alongside usage, and tweak prioritisation for key applications, will allow businesses to get the best bang for their buck and help them thrive in a more competitive environment. As such, network transformation must go hand-in-hand with digital transformation initiatives to ensure everything runs at its best.