SDN and NFV Support Cloud
In simplified and generalized terms, what SDN offers is centralized command and control of network resources and traffic patterns. A single central… controller, or a few distributed cooperating controllers, can configure and manage virtual networks and provide quality of service (QoS) and security services. This relieves network management of the need to individually configure and program each networking device.
What NFV offers is automated provisioning of devices. NFV virtualizes network devices, such as switches and firewalls, as well as compute and storage devices, and provides tools for scaling out and automatically deploying devices as needed. Thus each project or cloud customer does not require separate equipment or reprogramming of existing equipment. Relevant devices can be centrally deployed via a hypervisor management platform and configured with rules and policies.
A large cloud service provider will deal with thousands of customers, with dynamic needs for capacity, both in terms of traffic-carrying capacity and in terms of compute and storage resources. The provider needs to be able to rapidly manage the entire network to handle traffic bottlenecks, manage numerous traffic flows with differing QoS requirements, and deal with outages and other problems. All of this must be done in a secure manner. SDN can provide the needed overall view of the entire network and secure, centralized management of the network. The provider needs to be able to deploy and scale in/out and up/down virtual switches, servers, and storage rapidly and transparently for the customer. NFV provides the automated tools for managing this process.
Large and medium-size enterprises see a number of advantages to moving much of their network-based operations to a private cloud or a hybrid cloud. Their customers are end users, IT managers, and developers. Individual departments may have substantial, dynamic IT resource needs. The enterprise typically will need to develop one or multiple server farms and/or data centers. As the overall resource demand grows, the ability to deploy and manage all of the equipment becomes more challenging. Additionally, there are security requirements, such as firewalls, and antivirus deployments). Further complicating the scenario is the need for load balancing as projects grow and consume more resources, thus the need for rapid scalability and provisioning of devices becomes more pronounced. The need for automated provisioning of virtual networking equipment almost becomes a requirement, and with all the new virtual devices (especially in conjunction with the existing physical devices), centralized command and control becomes a must. SDN and NFV provide the enterprise with the tools to successfully develop and manage private cloud resources for internal use.
Successful deployment of cloud computing services encounters formidable network implementation challenges. SDN and NFV are powerful technologies for meeting those challenges.
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