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Network World - Five trends in network are driving the transition to software defined networking and programmability.
• User, device and application mobility;
• Cloud computing and service;
• Consumerization of IT;
• Changing traffic patterns within data centers;
• And agile service delivery.
The trends stretch across multiple markets, including enterprise, service provider, cloud provider, massively scalable data centers -- like those found at Google, Facebook, Amazon, etc. -- and academia/research. And they require dynamic network adaptability and flexibility and scale, with reduced cost, complexity and increasing vendor independence, proponents say.
IT'S BIG: OpenFlow and SDN: Networking's Future?
According to Cisco, which just released its ONE programmability architecture, enterprises need network programmability to automate the operation of private cloud deployments. These deployments include virtual workloads, virtual desktop infrastructures, and the orchestration of security profiles across them.
And within the enterprise data center, traffic patterns have changed from the "north-south" directions of client/server to "east-west," in which applications access different databases and servers before delivering data back to the client. The Open Networking Foundation says this, as well as the increasing use of personal devices to access corporate data -- the BYOD phenomenon -- and the deployment of private, public and hybrid cloud infrastructures and services is also changing traffic patterns, requiring the automation, rapid reconfigurability and simplified extendability SDNs provide.
Other SDN/programmability/network virtualization players say SDNs and the applications they enable can relieve VLAN exhaustion, facilitate data center interconnect and disaster recovery, allow for granular, policy-based security, network isolation, service interposition, deterministic application performance and customization, among others. Policy-based security is particularly important to the BYOD trend; as the ONF notes, enterprise IT is under pressure to accommodate personal devices in a fine-grained manner while protecting corporate data and intellectual property, and meeting compliance mandates.
Service providers need SDNs for agile service delivery, proponents say. SDNs and network programmability can enable policy-based control and analytical data capture to help optimize and monetize service delivery, they say. Cloud service providers and webscale companies like Google, Facebook and Yahoo to ease or automate network configuration and reconfiguration, and quickly add more functionality without manually touching each and every switch or router in the network.
Such companies can use OpenFlow and SDNs to reroute traffic, balance traffic loads, provide bandwidth on demand for peak requirements, execute policies to scale and segregate the networks of different data center or cloud tenants, and connect subscribers to content and services. Cloud providers in particular require programmability to support scalable multi-tenant environments through automated provisioning and virtualization overlays that abstract complicated and distributed physical infrastructures from function.