A “turning-point” is always a critically defining point in history. Something significant occurs, and things are never the same again. History is full of “turning-point” events; some good, and some bad. Despite the consequences, they have all shaped life as we know it today. The discovery of penicillin, the creation of the atomic bomb, the invention of Gutenberg’s printing press, the fall of the Berlin wall, and man’s landing on the moon — these are just a few examples of events and inventions that have deeply affected our lives.
When a game-changing event comes along, one thing is for sure: those who first understand it and dive right in to participate are most likely to benefit. This is also known as “first mover advantage”.
Wide area networks that connect computers have been around since the mid-1960’s, and have gone through many changes and advancements. Without question, the use of the Internet, and specifically the Web, has sparked massive growth in global network communications. Over the years, the companies that first took advantage of these network changes benefited the most.
The explosion that took place with the commercialization of the Internet in the early 1990’s has created a chain reaction in communications that has impacted governments, commerce, and virtually every society around the world. The users and applications continue to grow unabated, but for every organization and government which relies on these networks, the data center and network infrastructure required to support the growing network traffic has become very cumbersome. Today’s networks are highly complex, hard to protect, expensive, and difficult to manage. Suffice it to say, networks are not keeping up with the spiraling demands. Virtual WAN optimizers have gone a long way toward addressing problems associated with network agility, performance, reliability, and bandwidth consumption. However, there are many other virtualization, storage and networking elements that make life difficult for IT professionals. Solving these issues requires a much bigger view.
So, what’s the solution? Well, one solution appears to be Software-Defined Networking (SDN). And if SDN accomplishes all that it promises, well, that’s a game changer indeed.
While network infrastructure has grown complex and unwieldy, SDN has the potential to simplify network management end-to-end. We’ve all seen the results of leapfrog technology. The iPhone is a great example. The ability to simplify the user’s experience with a compelling interface, while providing easy access to many diverse applications has significant advantages.
Simplifying network infrastructure and providing a centrally managed programmable network to control all aspects of the network can transform a turning point into a networking game change. And the networking vendors who understand the drivers behind SDN and take the ‘first move advantage’ can end up huge winners.