It was prophesied that Software Defined Networking (SDN) would be adopted by the year 2012.
Although IT majors, such as Google, Dell, HP, Intel, among others, have invested in this technology, it will take SDN some more time to become an integral part of IT infrastructure. This in spite of the fact that it promises so many advantages like expansion of virtualization into the network domain so that virtualized network can be created, which will ease configuration and keep pace with server and storage virtualization that has already gained steam.
SDN functions when a software layer is introduced between the basic networking components and the administrators configuring them. This software layer, known as the control plane, decides as to where traffic has to be routed to. Data plane, on the other hand, which takes the onus for pushing the data forward, will stay put on the physical network hardware. This is the process that facilitates network virtualization as commands are not being executed physically on the hardware itself.
In addition, SDN is an open source technology and, therefore, complies with open standards in order to be in a position to control and operate any service provider’s equipment. This technology also empowers administrators. It gives them enhanced ability and swiftness to connect different applications, clouds, network devices, etc. by leveraging the centralized control software for many day-to-day functions that they perform manually and individually.
We still, however, are not able to comprehend why SDN has not been able to enter the IT mainstream. It may be that by toeing the line of server virtualization organizations are facing hurdles by trying to figure out how adoption of SDN will save networking costs, besides saving them time and resources. In order for companies to adopt server virtualization, it took them time because companies had to test it first.
The noticeable difference between server virtualization’s adoption and network virtualization’s adoption is mainly due to that fact that most hypervisor service providers entered the market and demonstrated how server virtualization can actually save time and resources for companies in their smaller data centers. The same kind of effort has not been put into network virtualization by its vendors to showcase how companies can benefit with it.
For a data center, networking is its core operation and infrastructure for that has not been virtualized to a large extent yet. When cloud adoption gains traction, organizations will have to consolidate the networks in order for them to shift in and out of the cloud. This could be the driver for SDN as it will push IT networking teams to grasp better ways of achieving it rather than doing it manually.