The software-defined networking (SDN) market is expected to grow by double-digits between now and 2023, driven by the increasing mainstream adoption of this technology. And for good reason: SDN gives IT the ability to make changes through software code instead of reconfiguring each device, and manage data traffic from a central console to move it in any direction.
Communication gear still drives the physical movement of bits, but software drives the data plan and the control plan. This allows network managers—and even applications—to dynamically manage network resources based on complex system needs. SDN supports real-time integration across multiple servers, services and clouds, and it also processes huge volumes of data. IT departments can now overcome traditional networking issues such as performance bottlenecks and develop a more responsive network strategy.
SDN Plays a Critical Role in Cloud Adoption and Improves Security for IT Departments
SDN architecture integrates easily with cloud-based environments, both public and private ones. This gives network managers greater flexibility, speed and automation in managing their network clouds.
On the security front, SDN allows an IT department to divide a network connection between an end user and the data center, and provide different security settings for the various types of network traffic. For example, a network could have one public-facing, low security network without any sensitive information. But another network segment could have a software-based firewall and encryption policies that allow for more sensitive data to travel over it. Having the ability to match security policies to specific workloads is a key advantage of SDN.
One of the hottest trends with SDN is microsegmentation, where IT professionals customize security settings to different types of traffic. With this security model, the goal is to apply segmentation rules down to the workload or application. This mitigates the likelihood of an attacker migrating between compromised workloads or applications to others. Basically, microsegmentation creates intelligent groupings of workloads based on their characteristics as communicated inside the data center. This approach does not depend on dynamically changing networks, specific business or technical requirements which means microsegmentation provides enhanced security.
The software-defined wide area network (SD-WAN) takes SDN even further by connecting enterprise networks over large geographical areas, such as branch offices and data centers. Traditional WAN connections typically needed technology that required special proprietary hardware. SD-WAN moves more of the network control into the cloud through software, allowing for greater scalability, flexibility and reduced hardware costs. SD-WAN is expected to grow even faster than SDN in the coming years for several reasons:
- Greater reliability of application performance, a huge advantage for users in today’s digital workspaces.
- High level of connection security for cloud applications without performance trade-offs.
- Increased bandwidth which reduces congestion and slowdowns.
- More business agility through faster deployments of new applications.
- Simpler IT administration through a centralized console instead of in-field configurations.
SDN and its offspring of SD-WANs continue to defy expectations in creating greater agility, flexibility, security and reliability. Leading-edge IT organizations are embracing the imperatives of digital transformation through SDN and SD-WAN to provide for agile deployment, provisioning and operational management.