Software-defined networking: A primer for non-techies

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B2B tech is getting smarter. Back at the dawn of internet time, you had boxes and routers and a network was ‘managed’ by plugging and unplugging things. Each device had its own brain and each component had to be individually managed, and like Christmas lights, an entire network could be dependent on one faulty connection.

Not anymore. Today the entire infrastructure of an IT department can be centrally governed by AI and big data, in an environment characterized by centralized ‘self-awareness’. This is the network in the era of software defined networking: intelligent, self-adjusting, fast.

The implication? In today’s and tomorrow’s IT environment, the cloud has fundamentally changed reliability. Availability is table stakes. Hardware or software failure is less and less an operational risk; storage is practically free, computing may be moving to free, tech is racing to zero.

Enter the era of software-defined networking.

SDN is the decoupling of network devices and the intelligence that runs them: the dumb terminalling of the network. Each device that comprises the network in an SDN environment is centrally (or remotely) managed, allowing activity to be optimized and prioritized.

The focus of SDN is efficiency, data and oversight, and it can be powerful: once implemented some environments reduced cap and opex spends by 20%.

Can’t tell the difference between virtualization and SDN? What companies in the space do you need to know? We’ve got you covered. Here’s 4 stories to get you started.

Introductions: From SDN Central, a comprehensive and very informative overview. Another good overview from CIO Insight: the basics of software-defined networking.

Why SDN? A key value in SDN is what its efficiencies allow to be delivered over the network. A profile of advanced applications and SDN; and the 20% capex and opex savings don’t hurt.

Are SDN and virtualization the same? There’s some confusion between the two; this helps clear it up. Network virtualization vs SDN.

Who are the key vendors in the SDN space? Cisco and VMware battle for enterprise domination. An overview of the companies fighting for survival in the SDN startup ecosystem, $600mm in investment.

Flickr photo via user splorp

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