Virtualized network services will be game changer for enterprise IT

Software defined networks (SDNs) open the door to services like software defined acceleration (SDA)

An old colleague of mine, Current Analysis’ Brian Washburn, hit it right last week when he blogged about how virtualized services will be a game changer for managed network service providers. The same is true for enterprise IT organizations. Here’s why.

IT learned long ago that self-service is a powerful tool for reducing costs and improving efficiency.  Look at what happened to corporate help desks. At one time, password resets constituted a significant minority of help desk calls. They were a drain on IT resources and a source of frustration for users. Enabling user-driven password resets, corporations improved help desk efficiency and customer satisfaction.

The same will be true with virtualized network services. Running infrastructure services in software over software defined networks (SDNs) bring none of the deployment complexity associated with networking hardware or even networking software. So, IT will be able to package virtual services in a way that is accessible to even non-networking experts, such as virtualization managers, who increasingly are responsible for delivering today’s workloads and applications.

Case in point is software defined acceleration (SDA). SDA is a virtualized service that accelerates the performance of any application over the WAN.  Not only will SDA make network services simpler to use, but also simpler to deploy. 

Packaging infrastructure services will enable IT to offload tasks from the networking team much in same the way password resets improved helpdesk efficiency. But such a technology, as Brian points out, will also challenge organizations that feed on network complexity.

“Large carriers have looked at WAN optimization as an element of complex networking problems, one which needs a professional services engagement and ongoing managed services to address properly.  With respect to optimizing global enterprise networks that run many applications to many endpoints, they’re right.  However, if an administrator reduces workload optimization between data centers to just a point and click – and applies changes in data center connectivity without involving the WAN – it reinforces a precedent that does network providers no favors.  That precedent is that data centers provide innovative, flexible, dynamic services, but the WAN is static, sitting between these islands of innovation. “

Copyright © 2012 IDG Communications, Inc.

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