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The Benefits and Challenges of Software-Defined Networking

One the biggest challenges contemporary businesses face is creating a flexible network atmosphere that responds to application or traffic needs in real time. In looking for solutions to this problem, organizations are transitioning from traditional, inflexible hardware-based networks to software-defined networks.

Software-defined networking (SDN) allows an entire network to be managed from a central control point. Programmability of the network from a single location enables automation, where the system can self-monitor and scale in real time based on need. The ability to make real-time adjustments is the most valuable aspect of SDN, because it ensures companies never get caught without the network resources they need.

But with the added flexibility SDN provides comes new challenges as well. In the past, when applications or services were deployed, engineers had significant time to test the network’s ability to handle the changes. While SDN provides companies with greater flexibility, real-time configuration changes make it much more difficult for IT managers to stay on top of everything that is happening across dynamic networks.

Best-in-class network monitoring tools, however, help engineers improve network performance, reduce latency and weed out security risks by keeping tabs on the entire network, 24/7/365 even as things rapidly change. These products also make the entire virtual network visible to engineers and alert them to any small disturbances before they become major problems. Particularly in cases where companies are migrating from 1G to 10G speed or higher for SDN deployments, the increase in speed and complexity of applications necessitates the adoption of performance-monitoring solutions.

Like many emerging technologies, SDN offers major benefits for businesses but also comes with potential pitfalls. For companies considering overhauling their network infrastructure, network monitoring solutions are akin to protecting an investment.

And that’s always good business.

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