Welcome to the Era of Software Defined IT

Welcome to the Era of Software Defined IT

Second of a three-part series

A new IT architecture is emerging that encompasses software as a service, software defined networking, hyper scale cloud computing and the consumerization of IT. Taken together, we call this architectural approach Software Defined IT.

Finding the right partner to build, implement and help run the network platform for the future is a challenge. Most legacy providers are still in the mode of selling piecemeal products, expecting the customer (i.e. the corporate IT department) to install, configure, integrate and run the platform.

The concept of software defined networking (SDN) begins with the decoupling of network functions from dedicated hardware and embedded software. The continuing growth in general purpose CPU power means many networking tasks that once required dedicated hardware can now be run on commodity hardware such as Intel servers. Coupled with virtual machine (VM) technology, this allows a single vendor-agnostic server to perform multiple virtualized network functions (VNF) that used to require separate dedicated hardware devices.

The connections between the VNFs are handled by a virtual switch that connects the VNFs together into a seamless network fabric. Additionally, key to the SDN model is the ability to install, control and manage those VNFs programmatically via an application program interface (API). This allows customers to completely automate the provisioning of the IT infrastructure from compute and storage to network and applications.

Rather than looking at SDN as the latest thing to add to their networks, Masergy built its network platform on a software-defined foundation over a decade ago. This robust platform has continued to expand in scope and functionality, including:

  • Real-time control of bandwidth allocation
  • Quality of Service and MPLS as a core competency upon which we built a global network with unparalleled service level agreements (SLAs)
  • Masergy builds networks for customers’ unique requirements and delivers a seamless experience around the globe
  • Our Network Analyst is an SDN-powered SaaS application that uses Network Function Virtualization (NFV) and is controlled by SDN APIs. It lets customers have all of the features of a network packet analyzer without the need for physical hardware deployed across the network
  • Masergy’s Intelligent Internet Manager (IIM) lets customers virtualize the functionality of an on-premise firewall in the cloud. This also uses the NFV architecture to provision, control and deploy network security
  • By using the same API found in our Intelligent Service Control (ISC) customer management portal, Masergy was able to quickly build iOS and Android mobile clients, enabling network administrators to control their networks from any location, at any time of day.

    Administrators can provision bandwidth as needed. Plans are underway to expand the mobile applications to view and control all network features.

While many network operators and standards groups are just beginning to understand the importance of SDN to corporate IT operations, Masergy has been putting the concept of the software defined enterprise into practice for some time now. Our goal is to reduce the complexity of running global networks and to increase the rate of innovation that we deliver to our customers.

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.