Intelligent CIO Africa Issue 65 - Page 36

FEATURE : SOFTWARE DEFINED NETWORKING
He explained that common networking technologies may be virtualised today and are highly effective . “ However , the benefit of SDN is that it allows you to future-proof your infrastructure . You should plan on investing in solutions that are built to accommodate future needs . Look for extensible technology that allows you to add functionality as your deployment matures and your requirements change ,” he said . “ You don ’ t want to replace one set of limited capabilities with another . Think about where your business is heading , and which changes may happen in the future . Look for SDN solutions that will allow you to add the types of services that you may not necessarily need today .”
Snell explained that with SDN , there is great opportunity for innovation . “ Think about how SDN can help you write applications differently . How could your business benefit if the application could speak to or respond to the network directly ,” he asked ? “ What if you could rapidly create or change services based on market demand ? This is the kind of innovation that can help your company differentiate itself from the competition . It will also better prepare you to respond quickly to potential interruptions to Business Continuity .”
Van Rayne said there are a number of pitfalls that CIOs and IT teams face when implementing SDN , but one of the biggest ( and possibly the root cause of some of the others ) is trying to retrofit traditional architecture on to the new technology , instead of fully understanding the capabilities of SDN . “ There is an immense amount of flexibility and agility that SDN brings to the table and if CIOs and IT teams have a clear view of that the other pitfalls are significantly minimised ,” he said .
Walid Yehia , Sr . Director , Presales – Dell Technologies , Middle East , Russia , Africa and Turkey ( MERAT ), said the premise is simple : Digital Transformation starts with IT transformation , which requires customers to modernise their data centres with infrastructure designed to simplify their data landscape , optimise workloads at any scale and secure an organisation ’ s most valuable asset – data .
As a result , Yehia said organisations that are looking to increase competitiveness by maximising the value of data , must update their storage infrastructure to create business opportunities .
“ In data storage – which touches every IT-driven business – the pace of innovation is accelerating , yet most enterprises continue to struggle with data ’ s explosive growth and velocity ,” he noted . “ Getting the highest use and value from their data is becoming ever more critical for organisations , especially for those with data stores reaching exabyte scale . So , this brings us to the real question . What are some of the enterprise data storage practices that would help unlock the real value of data capital ?”
Firstly , said Yehia , it is important for organisations to refresh their storage hardware on a regular basis and keep up with the increased data demands by eliminating aging infrastructure that is more susceptible to failures that cause outages or downtime . “ Modern storage infrastructure can also reduce the data silos and the struggle to manage messy data . It also frequently includes advanced data protection features that help ensure the on-premises data remains safe and secure . Data encryption adds an additional layer of protection to this , improving data security and mitigating the potential for data loss ,” he said . “ Second , as we look at technology requirements today and beyond 2020 , one thing is clear . Storage will be architected and consumed as Software Defined and the lines between storage and compute will continue to blur as organisations demand unparalleled agility and simplicity for business-critical IT infrastructure to respond effectively to rapidly changing market dynamics .”
He said some of Dell ’ s customers are telling the company they are looking for more flexibility in their traditional storage area networks ( SANs ), wishing to have compute as close to storage as possible to support data-centric workloads and to reduce operational complexity . “ This is because Software Defined approaches combine industry-standard hardware components and protocols with software to pool and manage resources within modern data centres ,” he said . “ And for organisations that require the flexibility of rapidly scaling storage and compute independently of each other or need to consolidate multiple high performance or general workloads , Software Defined infrastructure ( SDI ) becomes a viable alternative to traditional SANs and hyper-converged infrastructure ( HCI ) for certain workloads .”
Van Rayne said vendors like VMWare Velocloud for enterprise customers with multiple branches both in metropolitan and remote areas are driving significant SDN adoption across the continent . “ In the six years since we started working with VMWare Velocloud , we have deployed SDN to more than 39 countries , helping companies and partners across multiple industries including mining , agriculture , logistics and retail to save costs , drive better network visibility and seamless link remediation and prioritised data management ,” he said .
Impact of 5G
Aside from the challenges that CIOs face , industry experts point to 5G and the impact it will have on SDN and that CIOs will need to rearchitect their existing enterprise networks .
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