At ANS, we’ve had our eye on SDN for a number of years. We’ve spent time understanding where it sits in the market place, the reality of adoption for both service providers and customers and it’s technical and operational maturity. We’ve also had first-hand experience with the deployment and consumption of SDN and so we’re in a good position to share our experience.
The hype certainly does indicate that SDN is the savior of all our networking nuances, however once we look under the bonnet, there is still a lot of work required to get it to the standard needed for service providers and subsequently customers. However, from our experience, we know it’s possible. We have developed SDN tools to improve our operational efficiency and drive a suitable automation and orchestration strategy, which is by no means an easy task. In my opinion, there are three necessary steps that should be taken to successfully introduce SDN;
To understand this paradigm shift and the way we deliver networking now and in the future, we must change the way we deliver networks. There’s no getting away from the need to be able to programme, to script and to utilise automation and orchestration tools not normally associated with traditional networking. At ANS we have a team of experts who have been working with these tools over the past few years with the utilisation of Python, Ansible, Puppet, Chef to coin a few and we have managed to cover significant ground on the road to SDN and its many benefits. So with this in mind, we have expanded on the great work vendors have done to improve our efficiency in the delivery and deployment cycle through a ‘Plug and Play’ feature. This feature allows for the orchestration and automation of networking equipment giving ANS and our customers, the capability to deliver advanced and complicated networking designs through zero touch provisioning. This has enabled us to deliver projects with up to 70% greater efficiency, which allows customers to realise their business investment in IT sooner, but also allow for the customers’ experienced staff to work on other high value projects internally, thus driving business value and innovation – win, win if you ask me!
So what does this mean? Well, ultimately SDN is allowing us to transition to a centralised platform for automation and orchestration delivering ANS best practice – best practice that has been built on 20 years of enterprise and datacentre networking experience. Our adoption of SDN is no mean feat and will likely have a number of iterations in the development cycle, but we know ultimately the rewards are worth it. Right, hopefully that has given you soon food for thought. I’m off to start writing the next blog in this series, but in the meantime, if you’d like to find out how SDN has already helped one of our customers, take a read here.