Digital transformation cannot just happen without network modernization. This is a crucial step. Digital transformation is a journey, an ongoing process of new procedures, new culture and new technologies. These three factors simultaneously have a positive impact on the business by optimizing operations, empowering employees to improve business deliverables, transforming products/services based on market data and helping engage customers in the sales cycle. It involves collecting data from all possible sources. Analytics help businesses build value and a competitive advantage based on data. Cloud computing is the prerequisite to success.
Current IT architectures include datacentres, multiple clouds and on-premises infrastructures. Users are mobile, access the network from multiple devices and locations. There are external users, customers and partners!
The network architecture should be modernized and adapt to the new norm, ensuring smooth operations, security and high availability. The peripheral network boundaries of the traditional LAN and WAN, must be modernized and redesigned to support multicloud, mobility, security and constantly changing requirements. At the end of the day the network should be able to deliver healthy and secure application access, which is mission critical to the success of the business.
The Multicloud Network
A common current IT infrastructure is distributed on-premises and to the cloud, to collocation datacentres, Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS), Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) and Software-as-a-Services (SaaS) public cloud and company premises. We also have remote branches, work-from-home and mobile employees, customers and partners worldwide. Let’s not forget containerization and microservices. This reality makes the network distributed and very difficult to deploy, manage, maintain and secure.
Software Defined Network (SDN)
SDN is a new approach to networking, which allows data and workloads to move easily between distributed locations, clouds and hybrid architectures. SDN offers network expansions easy and fast, whether or not the network expansions are on-premise or in the cloud.
SDN is software-based, while traditional networking is hardware-based. Software-based networking offers much more flexibility than traditional networking. It allows administrators to control the network, change configuration settings, provision resources, and increase network capacity from a centralized user interface, without having to add more hardware. Network administrators can centrally configure and manage both physical and virtual routers, switches and gateways, in all corporate locations and clouds. Existing network investments that are SDN ready can also be used.
“Within an SDN infrastructure, applications can request and obtain services from the underlying network infrastructure. This capability leads to the development of more proactive and dynamic applications that improve the user experience. SDN changes the way networks are designed and deployed, where the applications have more control on the configuration of the network infrastructure. SDN offers businesses the chance to build networks with increased application awareness and intelligence about Layer 4 – Layer 7 protocol attributes and delivery requirements.”
Ref: Cisco Software Defined Networking August 30, 2013 https://www.cisco.com/c/en/us/td/docs/solutions/Enterprise/Data_Center/VMDC/SDN/SDN.html
Ref: Cisco SD-WAN at Glance
In my opinion every business is unique and has its own optimum architecture. Relying 100% on technology enabled by a modern, high available and secure network is not something one can ignore.
Business Development Manager
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