How Software Defined Networking Delivers Next-Generation Success

June 5th, 2013 by - 10,675 views

Software defined networking (SDN) is today where the cloud was a few years ago, and their paths are quite similar. As cloud providers innovate, they incorporate new, cutting-edge technology to let users do more with their architectures and enable solutions that were previously impossible. Just as the cloud moved people away from physical boxes and bare metal devices, SDN is allowing developers and architects to divorce themselves from proprietary hardware appliances like load balancers and firewalls.

So, what are the similarities between SDN and cloud? How about abstraction or the movement from physical to virtual?

To get a bit more scientific, I jumped over to Google Trends (which looks at search term volume over time) and did a search for “cloud,” “SDN,” “cloud computing,” and “software defined networking.”


The results shown here make it pretty obvious that “cloud” continues to grow and overshadow the other terms. Removing “cloud” shows “SDN” making the same upward trajectory as “cloud” does in the graphic below. (Because people have been shortening the term “cloud computing” to simply “cloud,” it’s logical that the term’s search volume is decreasing.)


And if we focus on simply “software defined networking,” the result closely mirrors the path “cloud” took a few years ago:


Below is an overlay of “cloud” and “software defined networking” that illustrates the similar trajectory of the two terms (“cloud” is blue and “software defined networking” is red).


“Software defined networking” is about 4 years behind cloud, at least in terms of keyword search relevancy. If the establishment of cloud computing is any indication of trends, companies should now be looking at SDN as the next hot technology to begin adopting and integrating.

The problem is, many companies don’t really know what SDN is and its relevancy to their day-to-day operations. Much the same way that cloud moved people out of the physical data center via virtualization and other technologies, SDN is moving them away from physical networking devices by abstracting lower-level functionality into virtual services. And just as the cloud eliminates the physical racking, stacking, and cabling of servers, SDN eliminates the manual configuration and management of hardware.

Because GoGrid’s cloud is built on an SDN architecture, our recent service releases (specifically our Dynamic Load Balancer and Firewall Service) use SDN components. Recently, our VP of Engineering, Heather McKelvey, published a white paper that describes not only how we’ve adopted and implemented an SDN approach, but also how this approach is critical to our customers’ success. SDN_WP_Landing_Page_Image

In this white paper, McKelvey discusses:

  • The relevancy of SDN
  • How SDN works at the core and the edge
  • How forwarding and control planes are utilized
  • The advantages of SDN specifically for eCommerce and eMedia use cases
  • GoGrid’s implementation of SDN capabilities within our Public Cloud

You can download this white paper here.

Cloud computing lets customers easily craft flexible, scalable infrastructure solutions. SDN takes this capability further by enabling self-healing, distributed services within cloud environments. It’s the next logical step toward a virtualized and abstracted data center.

If the skyward trend of cloud computing is any indication, software defined networking will prove to be a critical technology to follow and adopt in the coming years.

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Michael Sheehan

Michael Sheehan, formerly the Technology Evangelist for GoGrid, is a recognized technology, social media, and cloud computing pundit and blogger who writes regularly about technology news and trends.

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