Executives – There is a new strategy to consider moving toward that can save you money, increase security, speed up your networks and help you get ahead of your competition. What should you do about your Cisco stocks? Even the WSJ is talking about…
SDN: Software Defined Networking. This new technology is a sweeping change that organizations, such as yours, need to consider as a future direction. It is game changing and so simple.
You’ll save money, alleviate a lot of networking issues, increase security, and more.
At the very least, suggest that your IT professional, professionals, and/or third party firm look into this technology.
If you want to learn more, here is a short story intended to introduce the technology in plain English:
Meet the star of the story: Paul the pilot. He flies the newest passenger jets of your favorite airline.
Now, you become a part of the story. Imagine you paying an IT Professional to build a modern airport for your company using the latest technology. Think of Atlanta, DFW, Chicago, or the airport of your choice. The IT Pro creates a network of runways and taxiways for you.
When Paul lands safely at your airport, like at all airports, he uses the runways and taxiways to travel a dot-to-dot path from the runway to the terminal.
The way things work now: Imagine taking all the air-traffic controllers and placing them at intersections around the airport’s field. Then take away everybody’s radios and add fog so thick that nobody can see each other. There is your network! A disaster that is happening!
With this system, imagine this: A plane lands and then, at the end of the runway, there
is an aircraft controller standing on the runway that asks, “Where are you headed?”
Paul steps on the brakes, rolls down the cockpit window and says, “I need to get to Gate 23.” The controller has to think for a moment, then points to one of the taxiways and says, “Drive your plane that way!” Paul does as instructed.
After scooting down the taxiway for a while, Paul encounters another air traffic controller who reviews a table of best routes, and then points Paul towards the next step of the journey. This goes on, through all the intersections along the route, all the way to the terminal. Paul just cannot help it; he starts humming, “Do you know the way to SJO… (San Jose in the Caribbean)
Now think of dozens and dozens of aircraft moving along the taxiways and runways, slamming on the brakes, honking the airplane horns, traffic jams, and the inevitable crashes. No way, San Jose.
In this analogy, the airplanes represent packets of data. Imagine that Paul the pilot comes from (the) cloud, into your (network of) runways and taxiways, and eventually arrives at a (computer) terminal. In a similar fashion, he can leave the terminal, travel your network, and go back into the cloud, or at least into your file server.
Companies such as Cisco, D-Link, HP, Juniper, NETGEAR, etc. design, build, and sell these traffic controllers. Those switches and routers are expensive because each one has to be intelligent enough to know where next to send each data packet. They have to have good memories in order to remember where to route airplanes for best results. In addition, they are usually uncoordinated with the other devices on your network.
When a user connects to your network with their computer, an iPhone, or some other device, their information travels through your network cables of taxiways and runways to and from your servers, other computers, and the Internet cloud.
With this existing system, when someone starts listening to Internet music for peace of mind, it bogs down the whole network. Nobody notices the hacker or virus that is methodically looking for holes in your security by peeking into every computer on your network.
To top it all off, you pay lots of money for this archaic system! Drawbacks of this system, the one you use now, abound.
This is the happy conclusion: You, all the wiser after reading this story, tell your IT Pro to investigate the implementation of SDN: Software Defined Networking.
Then your wise IT Pro will move all the traffic controllers to a control tower, lift the fog so it is a bright sunny day, and provide radio communications so everybody can function as a team. Teamwork between your network devices is like striking oil! Synergy that is.
The key to all of this is the controller. The controller watches the traffic and tells the devices on the network what to do. Every step of the way, there is a signal that tells Paul where to steer next.
Faster – If Paul is carrying lots of music, then because music uses a great deal of data, he is directed to a special taxiway for music.
Prioritize Data – If a passenger is not feeling well, Paul gets priority and is expedited to the gate to provide a high quality of service (QOS).
Security – If there is an unruly passenger aboard, called a hi-hacker, Paul is directed to pull over so that the local S.W.A.T. team can storm the plane.
Save Money – Cisco, and other vendors may not like it, but your switches and routers
become inexpensive because they no longer have to be “intelligent.” They are generic, can be any brand, just as long as they listen to the controller.
Coordination – the seventh habit of successful people! Your devices now listen to an intelligent controller that has a clear view of all of the planes in the airport and can make things work right.
From an IT Pro point of view, this is perhaps oversimplified, but for an executive – I hope you found this very useful for understanding the next step in networking technology – and why you need to be planning for Software Defined Networking.
If you want to speak a little Geek, tell your IT Pros, who may already know all about this: The data pathways (the runways and taxiways) make up the Data Plane. The controller communication travels on the Control Plane using a protocol such as OpenFlow to send out instructions to the Forwarding Plane that contains routing information.
Moreover, all of those signals travel across the regular network connections that are in place now.
Are your IT Pros are aware of the emerging technology called Software Defined Networking?
Please post your comments below…