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6 Reasons Your Network Isnít Ready For SDN

Companies implementing software-defined networking in the data center risk failing if they don't address infrastructure and organizational issues first.
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I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but your network probably isn’t ready for software-defined networking in your data center. This statement isn’t meant to put anyone down, nor should it discourage efforts to get to an SDN-ready state. It is, however, a reality check that should help IT infrastructure architects focus on what needs to be added or strengthened prior to looking at SDN technologies. In other words, let’s not put the cart before the horse.

I must also point out that other forms of SDN, such as software-defined WAN are far easier to implement, and you may already have all the pieces in place to start your SDN journey at the WAN. But aspiring for end-to-end SDN -- or even just SDN within the data center -- is a far greater challenge to take on. Reasons why most IT departments aren’t ready generally fall into one of two categories:

1. Your infrastructure isn’t ready. This could be either hardware-related, software-related, or both. The point here is that an infrastructure must achieve an SDN-ready state across the board before SDN technologies can be implemented and put to use. Even if your infrastructure is 99% of the way there, it’s not good enough.

2. Your organization isn’t ready. Both from a business perspective and an IT department perspective, decisions must be made in order to take full advantage of SDN. Additionally, once an SDN roadmap is established -- based on sound business drivers -- IT must figure out how SDN will be supported.

On the following pages, we’re going to dive into these two categories and point out six specific steps that must be completed before SDN can be implemented in the data center. Think of them as obstacles that must be overcome before SDN can be considered. And by skipping one or more obstacles, you set yourself up for failure once you transition to a next-generation infrastructure utilizing software-defined technologies.

If you’ve started investigating your own SDN migration path, we’d love to hear about where you are, what problems you are facing and ultimately, what real-world benefits you think SDN can provide.

(Image: geralt/Pixabay)

 

Andrew has well over a decade of enterprise networking under his belt through his consulting practice, which specializes in enterprise network architectures and datacenter build-outs and prior experience at organizations such as State Farm Insurance, United Airlines and the ... View Full Bio

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virsingh211
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virsingh211,
User Rank: Ninja
12/17/2015 | 12:52:50 AM
Re: organizational structure
Brian: I have been working around with some of my sales partner, and this is one of the big hurdle. I found some of the IT managers, CIO and other management interested in SDN but they lack in presenting strong case for same. Although we have been working on to manufacture some good business cases for customers but i guess we need to work more on same.
Brian.Dean
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Brian.Dean,
User Rank: Ninja
12/16/2015 | 8:15:23 PM
Re: organizational structure
Every business might have its own reasoning to shift towards SDN. However, the general shift can be attributed towards the growth of data and high value of data that is traveling through networks. Banking, education, work and operations (through IoT devices), etc., make a good case.
virsingh211
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virsingh211,
User Rank: Ninja
12/16/2015 | 2:20:01 AM
Re: organizational structure
Good comments ! To my concern what should be trigger point for any company to realize need or requirement of SDN. Seeking to limitation of knowledge and education, how can SDN advocates raise business case and requirement for customers.
Brian.Dean
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Brian.Dean,
User Rank: Ninja
12/9/2015 | 6:44:01 PM
Re: organizational structure
@Marcia that is a great point about upper management. And, if the organization tends to be more inclined towards a hierarchical structure then, upper management will have to spend a greater amount of time to create an environment of cooperation.
MarciaNWC
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MarciaNWC,
User Rank: Strategist
12/9/2015 | 6:22:52 PM
Re: organizational structure
That's a great suggestion Brian, thanks! It probably also helps to have upper management instill a culture that encourages cooperation.
Brian.Dean
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Brian.Dean,
User Rank: Ninja
12/9/2015 | 6:14:56 PM
Re: organizational structure
@Marcia that is a great question. I feel that there are a few long term tools that are available that can be deployed to increase the efficiency of an organization for instance, UC and social media groups, etc. Siloes create inefficiencies in an organization and employees are always willing to learn about the functions of other departments and in turn generate greater value for their organization through their departments. However, the tools might not be in place and learning stops -- communication stops.

And in the short term, the abundance of tools, limited network resources and security concerns can create paralysis or the inability to make a decision. For instance, UC should be deployed on networks that can scale accordingly depending on its level of success/failure and Facebook does not enable group security or control hence, LinkedIn or another enterprise solution should be considered.
MarciaNWC
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MarciaNWC,
User Rank: Strategist
12/9/2015 | 3:48:49 PM
organizational structure
I've heard that organizational issues and getting teams out of their siloes are among the biggest challenges companies face with SDN. Any thoughts on how to address that?
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