Technology today is all about speed, and rightfully so. Businesses need to make an impact quickly and effectively to continue enticing their customers. While this has made businesses better poised to meet market trends, it also creates almost impossible waters for IT administrators to navigate, forcing them to deal with the complexity of networks that grow each day.
Now more than ever, customers demand instantaneous access to all of their data, applications, services, and so much more. The emergence of software-defined networking (SDN) has added to the mentality of immediacy, promising users that instant access is at their fingertips.
In theory, SDN does just that. It connects businesses to everything faster with easier use and heightened agility. Time to market, lower administrative costs, and reduced operational risk are all key factors in the SDN model. But as of right now, the SDN promise is rooted more in wishful thinking than in reality.
In a recent F5 white paper, research from IDC says there is one major crux that must be met before SDN can become the reality businesses want and need: Programmability. Without it, the laundry list of SDN benefits cannot be actualized, leaving many users to feel shortchanged. But with SDN programmability that spans the entire network, not only Layers 2 and 3, businesses can meet certain goals and overcome a myriad of challenges.
In order to adequately deploy a programmable SDN model, the white paper says four important pieces are crucial:
- Automation and Orchestration Framework: With an automated and orchestrated framework, IT personnel can easily perform network management tasks. Cisco Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI) is a great example of a framework that enables IT administrators to control and automate physical or virtual networks.
- Software-Defined Application Services: F5 Synthesis architecture offers an elastic, high-performance service fabric that reduces the cost and complexity of deploying software defined application services (SDAS) which allows for granular automated control over any application, despite being private or public, virtual or physical. With open APIs, F5 SDAS easily connects to Cisco ACI for a tight integration that gives administrators the ability to manage all layers of their network.
- SDN Programming Technologies: Businesses must be able to hone customization of their networks in order to meet application demands. With iControl APIs and iRules scripting language, users are able to provision resources and enforce policies on the fly to account for changing requirements.
- SDN Controller: In conjunction with the other factors listed, a capable SDN controller can manage policy in SDN environments. With the Cisco Application Policy Infrastructure Controller (APIC), businesses can centrally direct application provisioning, monitor applications and topologies, as well as troubleshoot for scale and performance.
SDN programmability is the next step to making SDN the reality businesses have dreamt about. By combining several parts of SDN technologies, full SDN programmability isn’t out of reach. Once achieved, businesses can leverage it to meet the evolving demands of the quickly changing market. To learn more about what you need to make your network programmable, download the white paper, “Realizing the Promise of Software-Defined Networking” now.