3 Ways Software-Defined Networking Meets Cloud Challenges

By Jesse Haller

Mar 2, 2021 10:00:00 AM

About 10 minutes

The cloud is only as good as its supporting network. Data needs to be transmitted from endpoints where it is generated to the cloud and to and from cloud environments and on-premises resourcesIn particular, hybrid cloud and multicloud environments benefit from a fast, responsive, and reliable network that connects different cloud instances.  

IDC stated that multicloud environments will be the driving force behind the software-defined networking (SDN) market in the future. This correlation exists because SDN helps companies overcome the challenges of transmitting data, managing traffic, and monitoring the cloud, especially in complex environments 

Here’s a closer look at 3 ways SDN overcomes cloud challenges: 

1) Accommodating application and workload changes 

The cloud is known for the agility that comes from ease of scaling. However, the cloud needs to be supported by a flexible network that accommodates application and workload changes fully.  

SDN makes it easier to adapt the network when these changes occur. Instead of making alterations through network hardware, such as switches and routers, IT staff can use code to reprogram the network. Changes can be made automatically across the network and be made easily thanks to the user interface (UI) that most SDNs provide. Do not underestimate the power of the ease of use and ease of management that are behind the true usability of SDNs.  

Usability helps to enable easy deployments with automation, which in turn empowers an organization to provision or downgrade network resources as needed. SDNs can also prioritize certain traffic and redirect flows to prevent exceeding available bandwidth. 

2) Granting greater visibility and control 

To keep the cloud secure, companies need visibility into the entire network and all cloud resources. Any blind spots in the network and connected cloud environments are points of vulnerability through which hackers can infiltrate the system and stage a breach. SDN uses a visibility plane to access all parts of the network, allowing blind spots to be detected and eliminated.  

With SDN, a business can create a connection between private and public clouds through centralized and intelligent controls that facilitate orchestration. Separation between network hardware and the control plane centralizes control of a complex cloud environment.  

SDN delivers this control with a single system control panel to manage all components from one place, whether they reside in a private cloud, public cloud, edge infrastructure, or in a warehouse somewhere. This control panel helps to eliminate the visibility challenge of seeing what is up to date and the control challenge of keeping it properly configured to ensure security and compliance for your organization. 

3) Integrating network monitoring and management 

Monitoring and managing the cloud network can be challenging because cloud data centers are geographically dispersed. Often, cloud and on-premises networks need to be monitored and managed using separate dashboards. In multicloud environments, many cloud instances that are provided by different tech companies must be monitored. 

By using an SDN-based infrastructure instead of physical hardware, it is easy to track every part of the network on every level with a single tool that manages both the cloud and the virtualized network. SDN allows for policy-based management and monitoring of the network that supports the cloud.  

Public and private cloud-based SDNs can be managed using a unified view from a single console with a unified panel that controls the company’s various clouds. This unified management maximizes the benefits and reduces the risk of using redundant features for the admins managing the systems. 

The organization can set policies for directing network traffic to and from the cloud, as well as policies for detecting anomalous and potentially malicious traffic patterns. With SDN, your company has access to built-in intrusion detection, intrusion prevention, and firewall capabilities that protect the whole cloud environment.  

The Future of Cloud Networking 

According to the Cisco 2020 Global Networking Report, SDN is one of the technologies that will have the most influence over networking in the next 5 years. As use of cloud models and services continues to expand, the automation and orchestration enabled by SDN will be in high demand as a way to reduce the complexity of managing cloud environments. 

ProActive Solutions can put your company on the path to this future of cloud networking. We offer SDN as part of our portfolio of software-defined technologies. Through our partnership with Cisco, we give our customers access to leading SDN solutions. Adopting SDN is one of the ways our customers can make the most of their overall cloud strategy. 

Explore the world of software-defined technology. Get your copy of the ProActive eBook The Complete Guide to Software-Defined Everything

Tags: Cloud, software-defined networking, SDN, Software-defined data center, SDDC, cloud networking, software-defined everything