Software defined networking (SDN) permeates the networking market extensively, due to its flexible and accessible infrastructure for data, management, and security needs.
SDN is expected to grow as companies continue to move their networking infrastructure to the cloud and the edge.
Read on to learn about some of the top software defined networking trends impacting enterprises now:
5 SDN Trends to Watch
- Kubernetes and container-managed infrastructure for SDN
- 5G pushing SDN to the edge and reducing data gravity
- SDN at the base of massive IoT
- SD-WAN expands for remote work needs
- The growing popularity of SASE
Also read: The Software Defined Networking (SDN) Market
As companies move their networks to the cloud and other software defined structures, they are recognizing both the pros and cons of ultra-connected enterprise software.
While SDNs make it possible to connect a variety of apps and users and reroute traffic as necessary, the unified structure of an SDN can also confuse admins when they attempt to run several workloads simultaneously.
Kubernetes and other container software are being implemented more because this technology can assist with SDN workload management.
Jacob Cherian, chief product officer at Ionir, a Kubernetes data services platform, believes that Kubernetes and other container-based services will help enterprises manage their SDNs, especially as more of them move their infrastructure to cloud and multicloud setups.
“A trend I’m seeing is multicloud will not just be what people are talking about, but what they’re doing now,” Cherian said. “While organizations have been deploying applications across multiple cloud providers and in hybrid clouds across public and private clouds for a while now, what’s different with Kubernetes is it enables enterprises to define the cloud on their terms as a collection of distributed resources across data centers and providers. With Kubernetes, customers can build consistent, software defined IT that is cloud provider-independent and that is optimized for their specific requirements.
“I predict the shift to the distributed enterprise cloud, with companies increasingly selecting platforms that will enable them to define and build their IT infrastructure, in terms of Kubernetes and platforms and services that run within Kubernetes. We’re already seeing this growth, and we expect it to continue.
“Companies will more often choose Kubernetes and container-native services and platforms for networking, storage and data, and security. They will pick platforms that complement Kubernetes, allow them to build end-to-end software defined IT platforms, and can be deployed on any provider or any infrastructure.”
More on containers: Best Container Management Services and Software
5G networking is in its earliest stages of worldwide implementation. Even though many enterprises still rely on 4G, or are adopting other solutions like private 5G, many are beginning to see the benefits of 5G networking to drive SDN for edge applications and data mobility.
Peter Sprygada, VP of product management at Itential, a network and cloud automation solutions provider, believes that the ongoing expansion of 5G is shifting the investment and core business strategies of many enterprises that want to take advantage of high-performance networking through SDN.
“The spread of 5G will further shift the focus of enterprise investments away from centralized architectures,” Sprygada said. “As 5G networking becomes more widespread, enterprises are looking to embrace the opportunity to push their applications further to the edge of the network, allowing them to realize enhanced performance and new monetization models.
“Network modernization initiatives serve to provide the foundation for enterprises to expand their application capabilities, push services closer to end users, and optimize service delivery performance. In order for these initiatives to be successful, enterprises are shifting away from manual processes, in order to fully embrace 5G technology through the expansion of advanced capabilities, like automation and network slicing.
Paul Speciale, chief product officer at Scality, a file and object data management company, explained that as 5G networks, SDN, and edge infrastructure continue to grow, they’re also improving network data management, leading to new application deployments and decreasing problems with data gravity.
“5G networks will enable increasing edge data capture and mobility, removing the concerns of data gravity,” Speciale said. “The promise and emergence of edge applications and infrastructure have been well documented for several years now.
“With the expectation that petabytes of data will be created/consumed, the general view has been that mobilizing this edge data will be slow, inefficient, and expensive.
“We predict that the emergence of prevalent 5G networks in 2022 and beyond will lift some of these concerns and make data mobility an easier choice.”
More on edge computing: Top Edge Computing Companies
The virtual connectivity offered by SDN and the resulting network management efficiencies that come with this arrangement are making it possible for more companies to optimize 5G infrastructure.
As a result, they are able to explore massive Internet of Things (IoT) solutions, such as real-time, sensor-based updates on environmental factors in a city.
Eric McGee, senior network engineer at TRGDatacenters, a data center vendor, believes that the combination of 5G, SDN, and network function virtualization (NFV) is the key to continued development on the massive IoT front.
“One major exciting trend in the SDN field is the development and use of advanced SDN technologies in hybrid cloud and fog computing systems to support 5G and massive IoT,” McGee said. “5G is considered to be a key enabler of massive IoT, and SDN, in conjunction with network function virtualization, is integral in the management, advancement, and deployment of 5G services.
Both SDN and NFV provide the foundation needed to allow 5G to achieve network slicing, without which 5G would be unable to support the dynamic and flexible networks that massive IoT requires for proper functioning.
More on IoT: Internet of Things (IoT) Market Size and Forecast
As more people around the world have started working remotely, enterprises are implementing software defined wide- area networks (SD-WANs) solutions to increase broadband connectivity, application performance, and access to a variety of enterprise apps.
Yousef Fatehpour, content writer for Enterprise Networking Planet, a B2B publication for enterprise networking advice and trends, explains why SD-WANs have grown globally in response to growing pools of remote workers.
“Software defined wide-area networks (SD-WAN) are the modernization of the traditional WAN infrastructure,” Fatehpour said. “And, as 41 million U.S. employees are projected to work remotely for the next five years, SD-WAN will continue to grow.
“This is because SD-WAN allows for more flexible and efficient remote operations. In fact, businesses are encouraged to adopt multiple transport options through SD-WAN as cloud infrastructures continue to advance. The primary reason many enterprises are adopting SD-WAN is its increased stability and lower operational costs.”
Avimanyu Basu, senior lead analyst at ISG, a technology research and advisory firm, believes that the shift toward SD-WANs has arisen due to pandemic pressure but is likely to lead to further network innovations in the near future.
“While most service providers and system integrators started their SDN journey from the data center (DC) network, with solutions such as Cisco ACI and VMware NSX, providers have been increasingly focusing on SD-WAN in the last few years,” Basu said. “SD-WAN has become mainstream now. Thus, there is no further requirement of traditional routers.
“Due to the pandemic, enterprises are extending SD-WAN to home offices. Also, they have started deploying SD-WAN as an integrated fabric of the entire network, extending it from the DC to the branch edges. With further levels of maturity in this space, the adoption of intent-based networking (IBN) is expected to increase in the future.
“In addition, the WAN architecture is evolving to support more connectivity choices — a key value proposition considered by SD-WAN vendors. The vendors, as a result, are enabling enterprises to use any kind of transport actively or on standby.”
The secure access service edge (SASE) takes the best parts of SD-WAN’s widespread connectivity and flexibility and adds a more strategic focus on security, access, and policy management for the network.
More organizations are adopting a SASE stance to make sure that their edge and other software defined networking components are protected.
Ed Fox, CTO of MetTel, a business telecom provider, explained how SASE, zero-trust networking, and smart VPNs are combining forces to improve enterprise security postures.
“There are a few trends we are seeing, none as big as the SASE movement, which is taking SDN and in particular, SD-WAN to an entirely new level,” Fox said. “The implementation of [zero-trust network access] ZTNA, basically software defined and smart VPNs, provides a whole new layer of network extraction and control of the WAN all the way to the device.
“As mentioned, the SASE innovations will continue and will dominate the enterprise WAN space, including ZTNA architectures. The application-aware smart VPN will finally share the application routing preferences with the WAN and the security applications, making the management of an overall security posture much more unified and manageable. Hopefully, it will have a positive impact on defenses.”
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