Software defined infrastructure is a big win for enterprise

Image of white box hardware attached to a network

Posted on Monday, April 10, 2017

News that AT&T successfully sent data from Washington to San Francisco shouldn’t be headline news – as a telecoms giant that’s an everyday occurrence. But when that transmission was made using “white box” switches, a seismic shock went through the entire network hardware industry.

The software defined network is now a reality

Built using commodity hardware and Open Source software, white box switches make virtual networking a reality for enterprise-class organizations. Instead of making huge capital investments in homogenous network environments, AT&T can now select low-cost, generic switches and use software to manage the complexities of traffic shaping and routing.

The AT&T test severely undermines the business model of incumbent network hardware OEMs – including those working on their own (expensive) virtual network implementations.

Homogenous infrastructure is dead

With a viable software defined networking technology on the table, the era of the homogenous data center is dead. Virtualized servers, storage and networking mean that corporations are now able to reclaim control of their entire infrastructure. This in turn leads to increased control and flexibility, and a reduction in capital outlay for expansion, new developments and support and maintenance.

The ability to use virtually any hardware offers additional opportunities to cut costs too. Existing assets can be redeployed, and their usable lifespan extended significantly through third party maintenance and support contracts for instance, boosting ROI and lowering TCO. This re-use approach can also help with secondary goals, like reduced waste for corporate social responsibility programs.

A golden opportunity

For businesses of any size, the ability to reassert complete control of the data center is a golden opportunity to resolve many of the annoyances created by OEM-controlled, homogenous hardware. Using software defined storage and networking, you are free to build infrastructure that will flex to meet your changing business needs.

To learn more about the software defined data center and how to make better use of your existing assets, please get in touch.