With the proliferation of cloud computing and Software Defined Networking (SDN) into home and business life in recent years, consensus around network configuration has changed dramatically. Cloud-based services have made the traditional server room an obsolete concept virtually overnight, and cast reliable network links, capacity and bandwidth as the new stars of the modern networking environment. But even if the infrastructural and capital requirements for SDN might seem less intimidating than running your own in-house IT department, there are other serious considerations that need to be managed in order to run an efficient network. In this blog, we’ll take a look at a few ways that SDN is changing network configuration paradigm.
First things first: Can your environment handle cloud service?
For organisations with in-house IT solutions, making the move to SDN isn’t quite as simple as bricking up the door to your server room and buying a new router. Before you even consider trading your in-house IT for a remote network configuration, a comprehensive audit of your environment is required. This will give you a good idea of the amount of data that flows through your network on an hourly, daily and weekly basis and indicate the amount of bandwidth you’ll need to optimally provision services to the business . Network Monitoring Software is invaluable here, as it makes it possible to analyse the average traffic on your environment and set baselines that give you an idea of the amount of bandwidth you’re likely to need when making the shift to an SDN model.
Never underestimate the importance of consistent monitoring and reporting
Once you’ve got a good idea of the average amount of data that travels around your network, you’ll be better equipped to make a decision on whether to opt for a cloud-based network configuration or stick to your in-house IT solution. This doesn’t mean you should stop monitoring as vigilantly as you have been: it’s equally important to keep monitoring and regularly reporting on your network’s performance once you’ve moved it into the cloud. Specifically, uptime monitoring is vital, as replacing localised implementations with as-a-service solutions means your entire workplace comes to a halt in the event of downtime. Depending on the service provider you choose, you may be able to request monitoring reports directly, or otherwise use your Network Monitoring Software to consistently evaluate and report on network performance. For enterprise networks, it’s especially important to monitor Wide Area Network (WAN) links and ensure that capacity and uptime are optimised across all areas of the network.
New network architectures can positively affect your business across many touch points
Aside from the benefits to office space and physical IT infrastructure, cloud-based network help reduce some of the overheads associated with in-house IT departments. Keeping a server room in-house can mean a significant drain on finances as you’ll need to factor in the cost of hard- and software asset maintenance, , not to mention budgeting for periodic upgrades required ensure those assets adequately cater to the needs of the business. In addition to the technological investment required for in-house network configurations, you’ll need to employ permanent IT staff to monitor and maintain your equipment. By contrast, SDN Network Configuration means outsourcing many expensive and complex administrative functions. Depending on your payment agreement with your service provider, you might pay a flat rate or a flexible amount that depends on how much you use the service. It’s important to understand the service you’re paying for in detail so that you can ensure you’re getting the best value possible for your money.
Iris is a provider of professional network solutions that are robust and scalable. We provide a range of products including Netflow Analyzers, Network Monitoring Software and Network configuration tools. To find out more about our services, please download a free copy of our Network Manager’s Guide to a Stable and Highly Available Network.
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