May 31, 2016

As Eclipse spends time speaking with our clients and meeting with cloud and telecom vendors to determine the trends and topics that are relevant to our clients, two terms keep moving to the top of the list, security and Software Defined Networking (SDN).  Eclipse has spent the last year deeply exploring SDN and SDWAN in order to better understand the implications for our clients. It is our belief that due to cost, control, resiliency, and other factors, the majority of enterprises will be moving away from legacy MPLS networks towards software defined networks in the next one to five years. 

There is currently a lot of confusion around the terms SDN and SDWAN as new participants enter the market every week, each backed by large venture funds in the race to define the intelligent enterprise network of the future. The available solutions vary greatly and each has strengths that others may not. Rather than take the viewpoint of any one provider, at Eclipse we will define a common language. In our view, SDN is the umbrella term for networks that are flexible, scalable, and easily controlled by the end user. In our opinion, an SD-WAN is an extension of SDN where routing, management, bandwidth, and application or even packet level control is placed into the hands of the enterprise client, rather than the carrier where that power has historically resided.

SDN can provide numerous benefits, particularly for enterprises that have fully embraced cloud services. There are providers who focus on specific parts of the world that have historically proven to be challenging to network architects such as Asia. Heavily used cloud applications such as AWS, Google, and Office 365 can now be connected to directly from all client sites. Users can improve their overall throughput and availability due to SDN’s inherent aggregation of links, shaping of traffic, and maximizing existing network infrastructure. 

One of the most important reasons why SDN has come to the forefront is the improvement in the reliability of the internet over the last 10 years.  Internet transit is becoming more important as more applications and resources are not sitting in corporate data centers, but in Amazon Web Services, Azure, RackSpace, Google, or your private cloud provider.  This coupled with the economics of Internet bandwidth versus the cost of the carrier premium service MPLS, and enterprises able to not only build bigger highways for transit but, smarter highways that can pass traffic more effectively and relieve congestion off of the more expensive and MPLS backbone.

Eclipse has several clients who have already rolled out and are running their enterprise on software defined networks.  We provide the level of expertise in selection of who you should be talking to within this space depending on what you are looking to solve in a transition.  Be it financial, technological, or operational gains within your company they are all achievable with the new generation of network solutions. Reach out to Eclipse for a network health checkup and a review of the solutions that are currently available to you.