SDN offers unique opportunities for app developers, networking pros

In the age of cloud computing and virtualization, application development operations and employees will get a boost from software-defined networking (SDN). This is especially true as the big data phenomenon continues to make its way into the enterprise, disrupting current processes wherever it goes.

At GigaOM's recent Structure:Data conference, Jennifer Lin, product management lead at Juniper Networks, said SDN will give application developers the ability to provide context for all of the information their solutions produce and need to function.

"We're seeing a huge opportunity here to reposition the role of the network as a curator of big data and make sure that role is easily exposed through abstractions of the network," Lin said, according to GigaOM. "The role of the network is interesting because the network is the only thing that's globally pervasive and … uniquely knows a lot of the contextual information that is required to drive insights back into the system."

In general, Juniper identifies the enterprise network as having four primary tiers: forwarding, services, control and management, the news source reported. In the company's eyes, everything should be centralized except the forwarding process, as this will eliminate manual operations that are prone to human error, giving organizations a chance to create and launch more sophisticated and effective applications.

Lin asserted that the network is rapidly evolving, driving the force behind hyperconnectivity through data.

A separate report by IDC echoed the momentum behind SDN, noting that the market for the technology is forecast to generate $3.7 billion in revenue by 2017, up from only $360 million in 2013. Because the services are so flexible and scalable, they offer opportunities to companies of all sizes.

"SDN's ability to decouple network logic and policies from the underlying network equipment allows for a more programmable network," said Rohit Mehra, vice president of network infrastructure at IDC. "Providing better alignment with the underlying applications, this programmability allows for greater levels of flexibility, innovation and control in the network."

As big data, virtualization and cloud computing continue to be adopted throughout the private sector, decision-makers and software developers would do well to consider embracing SDN mentality and technologies to give their infrastructure a boost. These improvements will make it easier for companies to evolve and mature in the future.

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