Today there is a major shift taking place in the networking space that cannot be ignored. An organisations network has the potential to transform todays data centres. Innovative technologies such as SDN, network resource pooling, overlays, east-west traffic and cloud computing have changed how networks have to perform. Factors such as SDN, resource pooling, etc., require new methods of networking from the traditional architectures of the past.
Disruption in technologies has always led to innovation and its high time we looked at innovations in networking architecture. And while IT budgets continue to be flat, CIOs being more conscious than ever before, some of the major disruptors in the networking space that have the ability to reduce costs and make networking more efficient for an organisation are as follows:
1. Shift from monolithic chassis switches to active fabric: Previously in the data centre, the conventional networking architecture was followed where monolithic chassis switches prevailed. These typically were expensive to use and maintain and were not scalable. However, over a period of time, the development of spine and leaf architectures using smaller, fixed-form factor switches gained pace. The new switches removes the traditional three tier networking and at the same time offers efficient, economical and scalable solutions. The new form of switches will enable network managers to overcome performance, reliability and scalability differences, compared with chassis-based switches.
2. Intelligent fabric management: Intelligent fabric management software has the potential to bring server-like programming to the network with scripting and other commonly used tools. It has an intuitive interface that guides customers from network design through the wiring plan to finally configure and commission the fabric. It also has the ability to streamline and automate repetitious and time-consuming manual tasks and provides a single-pane of glass to give administrators a birds eye view of their entire network.
3.Decoupling control and data planes: It is important to give customers options for how they choose to architect and deploy their data centre networks. Hence making switches OpenFlow enabled, the very seed of SDN in order to decouple the control plane and data plane elements is not enough. Customers are looking at other options to get similar functionality such as network overlays. Many vendors today support multiple interoperable approaches to SDN which gives customers a wider choice.
4.Decoupling data hardware plane and software plane: Opening up networking stimulates rapid innovation that drives the network ecosystem to achieve a level of power and efficiency never before seen in this industry. In an open ecosystem, customers can choose among various industry-standard networking gear, network applications and network operating systems they need to meet their business needs. Decoupling the data hardware plane and software plane is one step towards ultimate openness. This gives customers choice where they can mix and match data plane software from various vendors with physical switches, thus transforming the value chain from networking solutions acquisition, deployment, management, growth and global support with our totally disaggregated networking architectures and switches.
Organisations across verticals have benefited greatly from making use of networking innovations in their data centre. For instance IIHT, which delivers a range of courses within their 200 India-based training centres and provides outsourced e-learning programs to enterprise customers located across 19 countries, faced a critical challenge like any IT training organisation, of keeping pace with latest software versions and the required infrastructure. With the cloud model based training system requiring a 1,000 servers in the data centre, reducing port density was critical. As a result, the company designed a software defined networking approach to their cloud services.
The results were instantaneous. IIHT Cloud Solutions can now provide e-learning courses at any location, and provide hands-on experience for virtualisation and cloud professionals through delivering a capacity of 40 Gbps network throughput.
Networking stimulates rapid innovation that drives the network ecosystem to achieve a high level of power and efficiency. The pace of change in networking is exciting and is creating opportunity for transformation. For too long, end-users have been locked into technologies and cost cycles which have stifled innovation. New open source technologies enable end users to a path of reduced costs and a greater ability to innovate.