Brocade Applies SDN Principles to Legacy NetworksBrocade Applies SDN Principles to Legacy Networks
The Brocade Flow Optimizer application makes use of a controller based on open source Project OpenDayLight code to capture patterns on the network. Organizations can then apply policies to these patterns that enable them to apply policies to both legacy and existing networks. Here are the details.
June 12, 2015
For all the enthusiasm that surrounds software-defined networks (SDNs) one of the biggest inhibitors to adoption has been the requirement that customers upgrade their existing network infrastructure to actually benefit from it. Yet most organizations only actually upgrade switches and routers once every three to five years.
For that reason managed service providers might want to pay a little extra attention to the launch this week of an SDN application from Brocade. Sultan Dawood, product marketing manager for Brocade, said the Brocade Flow Optimizer application makes use of a controller based on open source Project OpenDayLight code to capture patterns on the network. Organizations can then apply policies to these patterns that enable them to apply policies to both legacy and existing networks, said Dawood.
Naturally, Brocade also added SDN capabilities to its own router this week. But Dawood said the most important thing is to be able to provide organizations a path that enable them to get where they are in terms of networking today to the promise of SDN tomorrow.
More agile network infrastructure
Dawood said the fundamental network challenge most organizations face is that once they set up their networks the IT environment changes. Optimizing the performance of those networks in a way that enables the network to better respond to those changes is, for the most part, a manual process that rarely gets done. Brocade Flow Optimizer is significant step towards rectifying that issue because to enables organizations to first see how traffic is actually flowing across networks and then make adjustments.
That data, added Dawood, can then be shared with the rest of IT infrastructure apparatus using open RESTful application programming interfaces (APIs).
There’s no doubt that SDN capabilities will become a standard part of all network infrastructure in the years ahead. The challenge that many MSPs have now is finding a way to gently introduce those capabilities to their customers in the least economically disruptive way possible.
Of course, vendors and their partners alike would prefer that customers upgrade their network infrastructure all at once. But allowing for a few exceptions, the probability assessment of that actually happening is fairly low. The challenge facing MSPs then is to map out an SDN journey for their customers that doesn’t inject a financial shock to their systems that only serves to turn them off to the whole idea altogether.
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