Networks are evolving to better suit the needs of the businesses and their customers. In recent years, there has been a major evolution from traditional networks to software-defined networks (SDN). Ottawa IT companies are helping businesses navigate this modernization.
What is SDN?
Traditionally, networks directed traffic using integrated hardware and software. A network device includes the hardware to forward traffic, the operating system, and features altogether. This type of network are the ones commonly serviced by Ottawa IT companies.
SDN separates the software from the hardware of the network. The software that controls how traffic flows is pulled off of the network devices into a control layer. The network hardware, including rotors, switches and other infrastructure, remain as the data or infrastructure layer.
Why is SDN Useful?
This separation of software and hardware was initially developed by network support because it allowed more dynamic control over the network use.
Traditional networks could prioritize information as it flowed through the network. For example, it could prioritize video traffic over email traffic, because videos have greater latency issues. However, once this priority was set, it was difficult to revise.
In modern networks, demand is constantly changing. Voice, data, and video traffic create unpredictable traffic patterns, often with large multimedia data transfers. In some cases, email traffic should have higher priority than video traffic. A few minutes later, the priorities may switch again. A managed control center allows dynamic control over traffic flow. SDN provides this kind of control.
SDN allows for dynamic networks that can react more quickly and with better control to increasing demands.
In addition to the traffic control capacity, SDN provides other valuable benefits. With the separation of control and data layers, it is easier to add additional infrastructure to grow the network. As well, traditional hardware-based components like firewalls can be replaced with software versions implemented through the data plane. Complex network updates can be implemented more effectively through from the control plane.
Parts of the network can be fine-tuned to certain uses, all from the central control. Microsegmentation divides the network traffic into separate areas based on their security needs. Certain network areas with highly sensitive data can be controlled to be separate and ultra-secure. Public-facing parts of a network are segmented off, limiting a hacker’s access if they gain control of part of the infrastructure.
In addition, SDN can provide the additional capacity and network support needed with the imminent Internet of Things requests.
Businesses may be noticing the strains on their current networks. Network support can increase the speed and performance of traditional networks, but the network itself has limitations. Major network providers are at various stages in developing SDN technology and network support.
Consulting Ottawa IT companies can help you understand what SDN will mean to your network. The transition towards SDN may not be immediate, but businesses should investigate the potential cost savings and increased network capacity.