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1 SDN & NFV IN THE Modern Data Center A GUIDE TO UNDERSTANDING THE IMPACT AND BENEFITS OF SOFTWARE-DEFINED NETWORKING AND NETWORK FUNCTIONS VIRTUALIZATION

2 TABLE OF CONTENTS OF SDN AND NFV ARE SDN AND NFV READY FOR PRIME TIME? ORCHESTRATION: A CRITICAL ENABLER FOR SDN AND NFV : TAKING YOUR NEXT STEPS TO PREPARE FOR SDN AND NFV

3 This e-book gives data center decision-makers an overview of two emerging data-center technologies: Software-Defined Networking (SDN) and Network Functions Virtualization (NFV). If offers a concise definition of these technologies, and it summarizes their key benefits and capabilities. IT MANAGEMENT PRIORITIES Leveraging Data Center Technology Investment priorities for the next three years: Improved staff productivity and operational efficiency 49% Most organizations are still in the early stages of evaluating SDN and NFV, and many still consider these technologies to be experimental. It is likely, however, that both technologies will move into the mainstream by 2017, making it important for data center professionals to understand and prepare for them. Implementing common management software, services and processes across cloud and non-cloud environments Reducing the number of software-management tools Aggressively investing in automation and orchestration in pursuit of business benefits, such as savings in operational expenditures and greater business agility 40% 39% 24% Source: 2013 IDC IT Management Quickpoll 3

4 Driven by pervasive virtualization, today s data center is experiencing unprecedented fluidity and disruption, from computing and storage to networking. Data center operators are being challenged to achieve greater staff productivity and operational efficiency, and to streamline and simplify provisioning and management activities. Above all, data center operators, both enterprise and service providers, are being challenged to be more agile and responsive to deploy innovative new applications and services faster than ever before. Organizations that succeed at these tasks will also gain greater business agility, and thus win an important competitive advantage. Progress of SDN Adoption Programs Current state of adoption by organizations with SDN programs: 54% 7% 11% Data center operators, both enterprise and service providers, are being challenged to be more agile and responsive to deploy innovative new applications and services faster than ever before. In this environment, Software-Defined Networking (SDN) and Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) represent critical enabling technologies. While SDN and NFV are still unfamiliar to many data center professionals, this situation will change rapidly as the technologies mature and as more organizations fully appreciate their benefits. Fully implemented Early adoption/pilot 28% Test implementation Research only Aberdeen Group,

5 SDN Software-Defined Networking (SDN) is an approach to networking in which control is decoupled from hardware and transferred to a software application called a controller. It abstracts the underlying infrastructure of the network so it can be treated as a logical or virtual entity. SDN separates the network s control and forwarding planes to make each one easier to optimize, and it provides a centralized view of the distributed network. The goal of SDN is to enable network engineers and administrators to make changes faster. In a software-defined network, a network administrator can shape traffic from a centralized control console without having to touch individual switches. The administrator can change any network switch s rules as needed prioritizing, de-prioritizing, or even blocking specific types of packets with highly granular controls. NFV Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) is an initiative to virtualize network functions previously handled by proprietary, dedicated hardware. A new way to design, deploy, and manage networking services, NFV decouples network functions including network address translation (NAT), firewalling, intrusion detection, domain name service (DNS), and caching from proprietary hardware appliances so they can run in software. NFV leverages standard enterprise virtualization technologies to consolidate many types of network equipment onto industry standard servers, switches, and storage. As a result, NFV also reduces data center hardware, power, and space requirements. Mutually beneficial, but not dependent upon one another, SDN and NFV share a software-based approach to networking to support more scalable, agile, and innovative networks. SDN has a broad focus on traffic flow control and manageability of the network. NFV is more specialized, concentrating on virtualizing and optimizing specific network services and functions such as routers, application delivery controllers, load balancers, and firewalls. SDN and NFV share a software-based approach to networking to support more scalable, agile, and innovative networks. How it works A short video on SDN and NFV technologies and how they improve networks > 5

6 OF SDN AND NFV 1. Increased Business Agility: SDN improves network orchestration, manageability, and control, helping network engineers and administrators respond more quickly to changing business requirements. With SDN, administrators can control the flow of traffic from a centralized location, eliminating the need to manually log onto and update individual switches. Data traffic flow, prioritization, and even security can be set up centrally and distributed to all switches quickly and efficiently. 2. Lower Operational Costs: SDN s ability to automate network provisioning and orchestration can cut operating costs by reducing overall management time and decreasing the chance of errors that lead to network disruptions. 3. Lower Capital Costs: NFV reduces the cost of network devices, such as routers, firewalls, and security appliances, by allowing them to run on common commodity platforms. By enabling software-based network functions, NFV reduces hardware, power, and space requirements. Most importantly, NFV can significantly reduce networking complexity, which eases network management tasks, reduces potentially costly errors, and speeds deployment of new capabilities. 4. Better Quality of Service: SDN also improves Quality of Service, ensuring that applications and business organizations achieve the appropriate level of responsiveness by prioritizing certain types of network traffic. For example, a latency-sensitive voice or video call might receive higher priority than an for which congestion and latency concerns are less critical. 5. Improved Security: SDN can improve security by blocking or rerouting traffic based on software-defined rules. This is particularly helpful in multi-tenancy use cases, such as on-premises or off-premises cloud-computing services. SDN can cut operating costs by reducing overall management time and decreasing the chance of errors that lead to network disruptions. In more depth ZK Research paper on The Top 5 Reasons to Deploy SDN and NFV > 6

7 ARE SDN AND NFV READY FOR PRIME TIME? There s no question that SDN and NFV will be important networking technologies, but all the pieces are just starting to fall into place. Because SDN requires support and communication across a broader range of devices than NFV, it will take longer to reach mainstream adoption. While vendors have recently started to introduce SDN-ready infrastructure products, SDN is still mostly being tested in lab settings. A November 2013 Infonetics Research study shows that most enterprises are still kicking the tires on SDN. Infonetics doesn t expect SDN to move out of the enterprise labs until 2015, with full rapid mainstream acceptance coming in SDN on commodity switches where the technology reveals even more of its value may take slightly longer to mature. NFV, on the other hand, is already being deployed in production environments. NFV s focus on replacing specific network functions that typically were provided by expensive network appliances makes it easier for vendors and customers to get started developing and implementing these services. So it s much closer than SDN to gaining broad market adoption. SDN is expected to have full mainstream acceptance in SDN and NFV will be important networking technologies, but all the pieces are just starting to fall into place. 7

8 ORCHESTRATION: A CRITICAL ENABLER FOR SDN AND NFV Network orchestration, which is already beneficial in today s data center, will become critical as SDN and NFV become mainstream. Orchestration combines multiple automated tasks, such as infrastructure, middleware, applications, and data services, into a coordinated workflow aligned with business needs. It can help provision the network, storage network, storage, firewalls, port profiles, operating system, and even applications, while incorporating security each step of the way. As SDN begins to dynamically shape traffic flow through software, NFV-based solutions can be automatically instantiated, and processes can be created to automatically take specific action under certain conditions. Additionally, administrators will be able to automatically deploy complex services that require a server, network policies, and storage. As with the other technologies, orchestration simultaneously reduces operational costs and improves agility. Orchestration combines multiple automated tasks into a coordinated workflow aligned with business needs. 8

9 : TAKING YOUR NEXT STEPS TO PREPARE FOR SDN AND NFV Both SDN and NFV will continue to mature over the next 36 months, and it is likely that both technologies will soon play a major role in the data center. That s why it s important for decision-makers to learn more about SDN and NFV, and to evaluate potential vendors and solutions. Data center operators will also want to look at how best to prepare their existing data center infrastructure for SDN and NFV. Ethernet fabrics, for example, provide a crucial foundation for these technologies while also delivering immediate benefits. The most important takeaway for data center decision-makers, however, is that SDN and NFV show great potential for solving many of today s biggest IT challenges. Organizations that recognize this potential, and that take steps to leverage it, can expect to gain a critical competitive edge. SDN and NFV show great potential for solving many of today s biggest IT challenges. Ready for SDN? Click through this 10-question assessment and get tailored recommendations > 9

10 CONNECT WITH US ABOUT BROCADE Brocade (NASDAQ: BRCD) networking solutions help the world s leading organizations transition smoothly to a world where applications and information reside anywhere. This vision is designed to deliver key business benefits such as unmatched simplicity, nonstop networking, application optimization, and investment protection. Innovative Ethernet and storage networking solutions for data center, campus, and service provider networks help reduce complexity and cost while enabling virtualization and cloud computing to increase business agility. To help ensure a complete solution, Brocade partners with worldclass IT companies and provides comprehensive education, support, and professional services offerings. DEFINE THE FUTURE OF YOUR DATA CENTER Access all the resources you need to help you improve your network, for the highly virtualized and cloud-optimized data center your business needs today and tomorrow. Visit 10

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