Defining the Overall IT Strategy with Software Defined Networks

By Mukesh Sejwal, Head of IT- India, BT

Cloud computing is a part of every business strate­gy regardless of the size of the enterprise. But are they really ready? Adoption of SDN is going to determine their success in the domain. SDN gives people the flexibility and makes people ready for cloud computing by catering to network needs of people via software defined topology which requires less in­vestment on network hardware.SDN helps them reposition and reinvent themselves by giving them the ability to provision their network upgrade and downgrade as per the requirement. For ex­ample, if you want to deploy a network in India, it takes days or months but with SDN, you’ll be able to provision the network in a few minutes. Intelligent Wide Area Networks (IWAN) helps us understand the network pattern which helps define the overall IT strategy to optimize the network.

IWAN is really intelligent as it reads all the data patterns flowing from one network to another and decrypts that data in a more intelligent way to understand the priorities for the business from the application performance perspective. Through IWAN, we can prioritize the applications that are important for the busi­ness. We can give priority to business critical applications and less priority to non-critical patterns like accessing social media or YouTube during office hours. IWAN optimizes the bandwidth usage and helps organizations invest right set of money while deploying networks.

Addressing the problem statement

From overall network strategy perspective, SDN is going to be the key driver as it has a quick turnaround time to address the problem statement. For example, a new com­pany in India received a good response rate and wants to expand their business in India. SDN can help them penetrate the Indian market and expand their business quickly across all locations and also enhance and optimize their bandwidth.

SDN acts as a managed network that helps them put up the right strategy to protect their data by providing a better control from the se­curity perspective.

Incorporating SDN as a part of an IT strat­egy helps in repositioning and reinventing the network, helps optimize their overall tel­ecom cost by reducing expenditure incurred on network equipment and connectivity, minimizes security threats, and gives its us­ers flexibility in deploying networks. How­ever, they need to define the goal and pur­pose of the IT Strategy first.

SDN requires bare minimum infrastruc­ture at the customers location compared to the current orthodox network. That means we need to procure less hardware, a small amount of last mile connectivity and the rest is managed by the customer themselves. They have the ability to allocate, downsize, upgrade and optimise everything from the control perspective. Currently if you want to enhance or upgrade your network, you need to put up a request to telecom service pro­viders, they will have their own lead time, you'll have your own internal process, so you'll get rid of all these kinds of processes, SDN will help you in your go-to market strategy, turnaround time and overall busi­ness strategy.

SDN provides the flexibility to the end user to monitor and give them complete vis­ibility on their existing usage pattern. They have a console available with them; with that console they can upgrade and provision a new network within seconds. It gives corporates the ability to manage their networks the way we manage network on mobiles. SDN gives similar flexibility to corporates to manage their network on their fingertips.

Improving customer experience

SDN gives companies better flexibility, control, security, manage­ability and adaptability, which in turn makes network design provi­sioning and implementation quicker.

Seeing SDN as a technology driver rather than an emerging tech­nology helps drive transformation and improve employee and cus­tomer experience. The head of ITs, CIOs should start considering SDN as one of the drivers of technology which help in terms of driv­ing your business objective and putting up a strategy to give better employee and customer experience.

In another 2-3 years of time, all the network currently being used will move to SDN. The moment you consume your bandwidth you can provision more bandwidth by yourself within seconds without the assistance of a telecom provider.

At this point of time, SDN is something, each and every CIO should have, as one of their priorities because cloud is coming, eve­rybody is having a cloud strategy so when you're thinking of mov­ing everything on cloud. You require a balance, if you have a good cloud strategy, at the same time, you need to look at your network, are we really ready from network perspective to take up this cloud technology. With cloud computing becoming a necessity, it’s im­portant to adopt a network that offers better security and improved performance.

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