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SDN — Can you afford to "wait and see?"

By TIm Swiader, Senior Program Manager, HP Technology Consulting

 

Swiader.pngI have been in the industry for a long time.  I have seen the rise and fall of technologies like Token Ring, ATM and to large extent network hubs.  All had a place … all served a purpose … all needed to be changed. 

 

What about today’s networks?  Have they kept pace or do they need to be rebooted?

 

Let’s think about this. Do you realize that today’s networks are being managed with twenty-year-old technology?  What, you say?  Yep … 20+ years old.  I see the same commands being used today that were used when I was in my advanced routing class in 1994.  And that was not the first time that I saw them. Get my point?  Trivia question: who / what came first…show command or John Chambers?

 

Consider this: Every 60 seconds there are:  98,000+ tweets … 695,000+ status updates ... 698,000+ Google searches … 168 million+ emails sent…1,820+TB of data created.  Looking forward, there will be an estimated 4.5 BILLION personal client devices (BYOD?!) on the network by 2015.

 

I still haven’t grabbed your interest?   How about this … you are managing a medium sized datacenter.  You have 500 servers.  Typical server has 20 virtual machines (VM) running on it.  That means you are managing 10,000 systems.  Are these systems set-up-and-forget?  NO!  Constantly changing.  So you have to manage / modify network attributes like QOS, virtual networks (VLAN) and security, to name a few.  In our model this can equate to managing 50,000 attributes.  Playing that out could equate to 250,000 commands.  Well who does that?  Who approves those changes?  When do those changes occur?  Not even going to get into the human middleware systemic issues. (Well … one comment … error-prone and very slow!)

 

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My point, with all these factoids, is that things have to change.  Our ability to respond to the growing demand on the network is falling woefully behind the rapid-fire environments of our colleagues in the server and storage spaces.  The networking industry has gone from “make it happen” to “we will get to it when we can.”  With that, you can throw business agility right out the door!

 

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And for those of you in the Carrier space, I don’t know how you are doing it.  Hats off to yea, as the pressure has to be excruciating.

 

That is why I am super-excited about HP’s approach to the future with Software-defined Networks (SDN).  Things like decoupling the control and data planes to allow management by centralized controllers.  And speaking of central control, can you say “single-pane-of-glass management?”

 

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 Enough with the dangling carrot?  I am running out of room but you need to check out my colleague Chris Young’s Blog “Myths and Misconceptions on Networking, Network management and Software-defined Networking”.  He busts some myths and provides some brain candy for you network architects.

 

And don’t miss this blog from Yanick Pouffary, HP Network Services Chief Technologist: “The importance of network transformation – planning for Software-defined Networking

 

HP now delivers the industry’s first federated network solution, giving you automation of and visibility into your physical and virtual data center networks. Get the details here, including info about the new HP Datacenter Care for Networking and our SDN Connectivity Transformation Experience Workshop.

 

IMPORTANT UPDATE 5.17.14:  Follow #SwitchtoHP on Twitter to get all the latest news from HP on how to make agility a reality with a virtual network. Respond to business needs faster with SDN!

 

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