Software-defined data centers need MANO

Why management, automation and network orchestration are essential to the agility and flexibility of software-defined data centers

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Software-defined data-center (SDDC) networks hold the promise of quickly and automatically reallocating resources to best support applications without changing the underlying physical infrastructure, but they require the proper integration of management, automation and network orchestration (MANO).

The SDDCN combines with compute resources (virtual machines and containers) and storage (disc and flash) to deliver specified performance for private cloud applications

MANO represents critical elements for making private clouds operate smoothly in a multi-cloud world. Each MANO element in the SDDCN has unique characteristics and challenges as outlined below. These definitions overlap and are not mutually exclusive.

SDDCN automation

Network automation is defined as the ability to replace previously manual processes via software tools. Software can be deployed in the data center to automatically configure and provision network resources – for example, vLANs for new container-based applications. Automation is critical for the SDDCN to handle the vast number of micro-services and traditional applications in most large data centers – each with specific network and security requirements. Automation benefits in the SDDCN include the rapid provisioning of network services and the reduction in network issues created by human error. Hyper-scale cloud providers like Google employ network software to almost completely automate provisioning of network services in their enormous data centers.

Data-center network management

Network management is a critical process for administering, operating and maintaining high-quality network flows in the data center. Network operators are responsible for delivering uninterrupted quality of service for all applications resident in the data center. When the network is down, compromised or unable to deliver expected quality of service, network administrators need processes to troubleshoot the problems and to rapidly remediate any issues. Network-management software is responsible for keeping an accurate inventory of all devices connected to the network and for tracking traffic flows within the data center and to external sites such as public clouds, SaaS and remote data centers.

Orchestration

Orchestration provides a policy-driven approach to network automation and management. It can program the network to deliver the appropriate compute and storage resources to each application. Leveraging the principals of SDN, network orchestration automates the method by which applications request network resources and helps minimize human intervention. Some examples of network orchestration include using traffic engineering to provide appropriate quality of service and providing security policies by user and application. Increasing network orchestration will be required to enable organizations to leverage multi-cloud architectures and run applications across a variety of architectures on-premises and off-premises.

Intent-based networking vs SDDCN MANO

Intent-based networking is the new buzzword that incorporates many elements of SDDCN MANO as described above. It abstracts network complexity and improves automation by reducing or eliminating the need for human intervention. The goal is to enable IT personnel to use natural-language

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