May 02, 2013
5 SDN Business Benefits
First came virtual servers, then storage virtualization. Now networks are the latest infrastructure technology to incorporate a software abstraction layer between logical and physical resources. From an engineering perspective, the technology, which we outline in our InformationWeek Reports SDN Buyer’s Guide, is both sophisticated and elegant. It also promises tangible business benefits, including faster provisioning of network resources, more automation and a concomitant reduction in operational expenses, greater flexibility in network configuration and customization, increased utilization of network capacity with a reduction in capital expense, and better security.
The key word, for now, is “promises.” Real, live SDN implementations are few, and commercial products are young and scarce. Don’t try to construct an ROI spreadsheet for SDN yet; any financial model will necessarily be based on assumptions bordering on SWAGs. But do realize that SDN is no passing fad. IT leaders should begin developing a strategy to harness productivity and business benefits while being informed enough to withstand the inevitable overselling and misappropriation of an admittedly loosely defined term — the “SDN-washing” of vendors seeking to capitalize on the trend de jour. A solid understanding of the basics and a well-thought strategy can help us separate the SDN wheat of truly innovative and transformative products from the chaff of repackaged network monitoring and management tools. (R6810613)