A software-defined networking (SDN) proof of concept (or SDN POC) is the first step to understanding and exploring an SDN deployment. An SDN POC will accustom you to benefits and shortcomings of SDN, giving you the information to build a strong business case. In order to have a successful SDN POC, it’s important to keep a few things in mind.
- Pinpoint a Pain Point: Identifying a certain pain point can be helpful when trying to figure out what networking needs you’ll address with SDN. This means pegging the area you hope to improve — more effective security or a streamlined data center, for example — and finding ways that SDN can help achieve this goal.
- Set Up a SDN POC: This involves setting up an SDN test bed (a platform that provides for experimentation of development projects) and seeing if the benefits you want can be expected with SDN. The POC can explore gear costs (CapEx), as well as OpEx expenses, and give you an idea of what degree of functionality SDN will offer.
- Expand the POC: Once the POC is carried out, extend it into trial in a functional area of network operations.
Creating an SDN POC and having a better understanding of how SDN can fit with your networking goals can illustrate the importance of SDN as compared to a traditional networking method. SDN POCs, when effective, can help put an end to the uncertainty surrounding SDN adoption for a particular business or organization. While several legacy vendors want to keep the status quo, a successful SDN POC can help assuage fears. Other important factors to consider when aiming for a successful POC include:
- Specificity: Network operators and vendors should have a clear definition of the business and technical challenges that can be overcome with the use of SDN technologies. Establishing specific goals is important to determine the effectiveness of production networks.
- Open-Mindedness: Remember that despite its rapid adoption in a short time, SDN is a technology that is stopping vendor lock-in. This means network operators must have a strong willingness to change.
Real world POC trials are a viable option to discovering new applications for SDN, as well as related cloud and IT technologies for customers’ networks. SDN POCs can also help determine the need for new skills in a workplace, and determine what an organization needs more or less of.