Among the recent developments in the networking industry, Software-Defined Networking (SDN) seems to be generating the maximum interest. Though still at an early stage of adoption, SDN is beginning to emerge as the next big thing on the networking landscape.
According to IDC, the worldwide SDN market for the enterprise and cloud service provider segments is forecasted to grow from $360 million in 2013 to $3.7 billion by 2016. Factors like the growing need for enterprise mobility, bring-your-own-device (BYOD), and booming cloud services are further fuelling the demand for SDN. Industry experts suggest that over the next five years, the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region may witness increased market traction to become the most lucrative SDN market globally.
SDN takes a unique approach to designing, building, and operating networks, where control is decoupled from hardware and passed to a software application known as a controller. In typical SDN architecture, the decoupled network logic and policies from the underlying network equipment enables an enhanced programmable network that supports business agility.
Though there has been an increased focus on SDN in data center and service provider networks, this technology can also be considered for campus networks and enterprise WANs. Meanwhile, network administrators are already exploring various SDN deployment models for highly scalable and flexible networks that easily adapt to changing business needs.
According to industry observers, three approaches to SDN deployment can be considered - switch-based, overlay, and hybrid. In a set-up where the cost of physical infrastructure and multi-vendor options are of concern, a switch-based model is the preferred approach. However, when responsibility for the SDN environment is with the server virtualization team, a tunnel-
based overlay approach can be suggested. A combination of the above two is where hybrid deployment comes into play and allows for seamless migration with a path towards an eventual switch-based design.
The tremendous buzz around SDN is already persuading major networking vendors to chalk their strategy around SDN. However, it’s important that organizations clearly evaluate the potential benefits and the risks associated with it. Though SDN promises to boost network utilization and efficiency, the security strategy of the company too has to evolve to incorporate the opportunities presented by the concept. With the potential to be disruptive, it may well be just a matter of time before the networking architectures of the future embrace the SDN model.