62% technical professionals mentioned faster access to infrastructure as one of the top benefits of cloud. 1However, with more data and applications than ever before moving to the cloud, delivering the performance and connectivity needed to run intensive applications and provide high quality end user experiences can become a challenge. Regardless of whether you are running applications on public, private or hybrid cloud, without a robust network, you are limiting your cloud capabilities.
Unlike cloud, which can respond to new demands almost instantly, organisations traditionally tend to buy their network bandwidth in fixed capacities such as 10mbps, 1gbps, etc. Provisioning and upgrading can be a time-consuming, one-way manual process and bandwidth doesn’t scale down when it is not needed. This approach is the antithesis of flexible cloud computing, and it limits the potential benefits you can gain from cloud deployments.
Enter the next generation of network: Software Defined Networking (SDN). SDN ‘cloudifies’ the network to make provisioning network resources on established connections between key public cloud providers and private cloud data centres much faster. As the network is software-defined, it can also be adjusted in near real-time according to their needs, so users can use and only pay for what they use without any locked contract periods.
By deploying SDN on its network, the IT team can manage all the components of its hybrid cloud - network, cloud services and applications - as one virtual ecosystem with one, consistent experience, making their network hybrid ready. Organisations can use a variety of network and cloud services to match the needs of their workloads and adapt these services quicker than ever to changing customer and market conditions.
While cloud computing has become one of the essential options in most enterprises’ IT toolbox, SDN is poised to be the same for network capacity and services. Despite the advantages of SDN, it is important to note that it doesn’t replace your existing network, much like how public cloud alone won’t be sufficient to replace your entire IT stack. Traditional networks like the public internet and private lines will still be required. However, combined with SDN, your network will become hybrid ready to help you maximise your cloud resources.
For more information on SDN, ‘cloudifying’ your network to make it hybrid ready and to get the most from your hybrid cloud deployments, read our blueprint for hybrid cloud best practice here.