Menu
12 tips for SDN IT buyers

12 tips for SDN IT buyers

The challenge for IT professionals is to select the right SDN offering for the right technology use case at the right time

Software defined networking (SDN) offers significant opportunities and challenges for enterprise IT professionals. SDN has the potential to make networks more flexible, reduce the time to provision the network, improve quality of service, reduce operational costs and make networks more secure.

The challenge for IT professionals is to select the right SDN offering for the right technology use case at the right time. These 12 recommendations provide enterprise IT managers a framework to evaluate SDN products from the multitude of SDN suppliers. [Also see: "SDN revolution or evolution: Impact on the IT manager"]

1) Have a clear vision about how SDN technology will benefit your shop, including its impact on legacy network infrastructure. Plan for how SDN will impact your overall network architecture in the longer term.

2) It is very early days for SDN -- the market, standards and technology will evolve. IT buyers need to pilot SDN and evaluate the SDN carefully before committing to a specific SDN architecture.

3) Evaluate the impact of SDN on your IT organization. Does SDN offer opportunities to create cross-functional teams (e.g., server, storage and networking) to address data center or cloud networking requirements?

4) Think about SDN implementation challenges. Many SDN offerings today are incomplete or require extensive customization. Who will help you with the SDN installation (e.g., channel partners or professional services firms)? Do you have the existing SDN skill set in your IT organization or is additional training needed (likely)?

5) Identify a specific initial use case for SDN. For example, the use case could be reducing the time to provision network security to new (or migrating) VMs. Or, facilitating quality of service guarantees across your private WAN (e.g., data center to data center).

6) Think about the potential impact of SDN on your operational costs. Does the SDN solution under consideration have strong management tools? How about the ease of installation and ongoing management costs?

7) Support for legacy networks. How well does the SDN offering support your installed base of legacy Ethernet switches and routers? What is the migration plan going forward for SDN?

8) Think about SDN in business value terms. How does a specific SDN product reduce your costs or benefit IT operations? SDN should not be just about technology.

9) Security. Improved network security is a critical potential benefit of SDN. Does the SDN offering under consideration improve security or does it create additional security challenges (or both)?

10) Standards support. Does the SDN offer support a wide range of industry standards, for both networking (e.g., OpenFlow) and IT (e.g., a range of server virtualization products)?

11) Layer 4-7 support. Your new SDN architecture should leverage networking capabilities at Layer 4-7, including server load balancing and WAN optimization products.

12) Application ecosystem. SDN is about creating an open environment for new applications that leverage SDN technologies. Ability to leverage a broad application ecosystem of management, security and Layer 4-7 applications will be essential to the long-term success of your SDN deployment.

Lee Doyle is principal analyst at Doyle Research. Doyle Research provides targeted analysis on the Evolution of Intelligent Networks: SDN, OPEX and COTS. Lee Doyle has over 28 years experience analyzing the IT, network and telecom markets. For more information please see doyle-research.com, email me at ldoyle@doyle-research.com, and follow me on Twitter @leedoyle_dc.

Read more about lan and wan in Network World's LAN & WAN section.


Follow Us

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags NetworkingLAN & WANSDNsoftware defined networkingSDN implementationSDN securitySDN tips

Featured

Slideshows

Meet the leading female front runners of the Kiwi channel

Meet the leading female front runners of the Kiwi channel

Reseller News honoured the leading female front runners of the New Zealand channel at the 2018 Women in ICT Awards (WIICTA) in Auckland. The awards honoured standout individuals across seven categories, spanning Entrepreneur; Innovation; Rising Star; Shining Star; Community; Technical and Achievement.

Meet the leading female front runners of the Kiwi channel
Meet the top performing customer-centric Microsoft channel partners

Meet the top performing customer-centric Microsoft channel partners

Microsoft honoured leading partners across the channel following a year of customer innovation and market growth in New Zealand. The 2018 Microsoft Partner Awards recognised excellence within the context of the end-user, spanning a host of emerging and established providers.

Meet the top performing customer-centric Microsoft channel partners
Reseller News launches new-look Awards at 2018 Judges’ Lunch

Reseller News launches new-look Awards at 2018 Judges’ Lunch

Introducing the Reseller News Innovation Awards, launched to the channel at the 2018 Judges’ Lunch in Auckland. With more than 70 judges now part of the voting panel, the new-look awards will reflect the changing dynamics of the channel, recognising excellence across customer value and innovation - spanning start-ups, partners, distributors and vendors.

Reseller News launches new-look Awards at 2018 Judges’ Lunch
Show Comments