SDN's Efficient Resource Allocation on the Verge of Taking Over IT

By Christopher Mohr January 14, 2016

According to a recent IHS Infonetics report, demand for SDN is growing rapidly. This is evident in the market for SDN Ethernet switches, which was at $718 million in 2014, but expected to increase more than 18-fold to $13 billion in 2019. The ease with which admins can reconfigure networks in response to changes in demand and scalability are major contributing factors to this trend.

It’s doubtful that the future for SDN will be much different than what HIS Infonetics has predicted. The cost savings are too compelling to do otherwise. SDN allows network admins to configure networks to allocate resources to areas where traffic is high and away from areas where traffic is low.

This saves money over fixed configurations which are much like the six lane roads adjacent to many major stadiums. They’re great to have when there’s a game going on and lots of cars going to and from the event, but they are largely unused otherwise.

There’s no way to magically borrow those miles of empty road and move them to ease traffic congestion elsewhere. The same goes for fixed network infrastructure. SDN networks also require less babysitting by network techs, so there is less need for labor.

The tight relationship between SDN and the cloud is another reason why SDN will continue to grow. Data Center Knowledge predicts that by 2019, 86 percent of data center traffic will go through the cloud. That’s not just an increase, but a reflection of the total transformation of business IT.

One example of how SDN has been put to great use comes from the school system in Enfield, Connecticut. Multiple users streaming educational videos at the same time prevented a VoIP system from performing reliably.

The typical response would be to increase bandwidth, but with budget constraints, that was not an option. The district started using SDN, which allowed them to tweak network resource allocation to meet spikes in demand but avoid paying for wasted infrastructure largely unused in off-peak times.

The only argument left about SDN is when it will take over IT, not if. Its flexibility simplifies life for IT managers and saves on costs in so many ways that it would be foolish not to use it. 

Edited by Kyle Piscioniere

Contributing Writer

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