Digital transformation, reinvented connectivity and business agility. Every enterprise is familiar with these terms. But there’s a fresh new approach to networking and security on the digital block right now, one that blends traditional network architecture with software-defined networking (SDN) and software-defined wide area networking (SD-WAN), to deliver a cohesive networking solution that evolves with the business without eating into the bottom line.
Legacy infrastructure is costly to run. This is a reality that often results in organisations sweating their assets, squeezing out every last drop of relevance before they’re ripped out and replaced by the fresh, and the new. It’s also one that has to change. It’s not a sustainable business approach as it puts the organisation onto a non-stop roundabout of in with the new and out with the old.
This challenge has been largely addressed by cloud, particularly over the past two years. As Accenture points out in its cloud trends report for 2021, cloud has become an essential part of continuing business and igniting growth. The report also underscored the growing trend, also driven by the pandemic of ‘fusing existing organisational processes with novel cloud technologies’. Which is precisely what SDN and SD-WAN can do for the network, right now.
One of the key value propositions of these two technologies is that they allow for the organisation to retain embedded security best practice while still introducing the flex and scale needed to adapt to changing network demands, such as the hybrid workforce. They allow for the organisation to add end-to-end security layered across the datacentre, the cloud, endpoints and the edge, providing additional protection to network controls and capabilities.
The next benefit is accessibility. The technology allows for an exceptional measure of orchestration and the ability for skilled engineers to log into any part of the infrastructure, from anywhere, to ensure quicker response times. It also means access to skilled support from anywhere in the world, at any time.
A shift in network infrastructure management that’s vastly improved compared to previous iterations where engineers only have access from a single point. In this new world of hybrid working that demands always-on accessibility and speed to market, this level of control is incredibly important. It not only speeds up response times for repairs, but also to deploy services across the network.
Finally, by building a network ecosystem that blends the capabilities of both systems, the business benefits from intent-based networking that allows for self-healing on the network and application layer. The infrastructure is evolved to a level where it can sense a change in enterprise requirements or detect patterns of behaviour and undertake a measure of self-correction to prevent failure.
The functionalities inherent within SDN and SD-WAN allow for the business to programme specific policies into the network that then allow for different systems to interoperate with one another and serve specific groups of people across specific locations and within certain parameters. The network is able to adjust itself and respond to demand properly, removing the static limitations of the traditional network without having to replace it entirely.
Moving forward, connectivity has to be reinvented on a holistic level, integrating intelligent technology to inject fresh life into legacy systems. With SDN and SD-WAN, organisations can cut their network into new shapes, redefining digital capabilities and network potential without eating into the bottom line.