Five Things CIOs Should Consider About SDN

Five Things CIOs Should Consider About SDN

Second in a two-part series

Software Defined Networking (SDN) is a work in progress. Vendors and service providers are still figuring out how it fits into their commercial strategies and enterprises are starting to kick the tires to see how it can benefit IT and the business at large.

Here are five important issues that need to be addressed:

  • Integration with current systems: Rather than move to an all-SDN setup in one move, many organizations prefer to gradually combine SDN with their more conventional networks. SDN solutions need to reflect this hybrid approach.
  • Security: By moving the “brains” of the network to a central Controller device, SDN creates a new vulnerability: If the Controller is taken down by an attack, the entire network can crash. SDN solutions require additional security measures, both built into the architecture and delivered as a service.
  • Standards: The term SDN can mean different things coming from different suppliers. For IT departments, that’s confusing. Standards will help. While some standards already exist, more standards — and more mature ones — are still needed.
  • Culture/training/skills: SDN requires networking staff to switch their focus from hardware to software. With SDN, IT staff configure networks with graphical software and write code using interactive developer tools. This requires new ways of thinking, new types of training, perhaps even new positions on the IT org chart.
  • Business case and costs: While SDN’s business benefits are real, they can be difficult to demonstrate. SDN involves network changes at the foundational level, so the benefits can take time to appear. Small, quick implementations can be a powerful way to demonstrate these benefits — and to obtain additional funding for future projects.

According to Piper Jaffray’s 2015 CIO survey, some 35% of respondents indicated that network upgrades were at the top of their priority list—a trend that the Wall Street firm has observed for three years running. So the introduction of SDN strategies and product innovations could not come at a more opportune time.

Learn about Masergy’s SDN Platform.

About Tim Naramore

Chief Technology Officer, Masergy
Tim Naramore is the Chief Technology Officer of Masergy Communications and brings more than 30 years of experience in IT and telecommunications to the discussion. Tim has worked at Frito-Lay, Texas Instruments, Boeing, Allegiance Telecom and Broadwing Communications on technologies ranging from IBM mainframes to handheld computers and web applications. Tim is responsible for the IT, Network Engineering and Software Engineering groups at Masergy. He holds a bachelor's of science in information systems from Pittsburg State University.