Introducing the unified Software Defined Networking Controller


Over a year ago, I embarked on a fantastic journey that led me to meet with some of IBM’s most prestigious, cutting edge customers around the world and talk to them about IBM’s Software Defined Networking (SDN) offering and strategy. These customers, no matter what industry, geography or business model, all had one important question on their mind:

How do I optimize my data center operations to be more like the world’s large “cloud operators?”

It had become clear to them that they could no longer operate their infrastructure in silos and most of the inefficiency came from the cross-function groups working together. While each group (for example, server, storage and networking) respectively did a fair job in its own area, when it came time to deploy a new system, utilizing several elements in multiple areas forced the cost and time to deploy to increase exponentially.

With this premise in mind, we paid close attention to details when developing the new IBM Software Defined Network for Virtual Environment (SDN VE) controller. Our focus with SDN VE is on the system point of view and not the individual parts. For example, in many organizations network overlays (also known as network virtualization) are often deployed and managed by the server virtualization team. Why? Simply because the virtual switch is part of the hypervisor and because it directly connects to the Virtual Machines (VM).

A different part of the organization (in many cases the networking team) manages the SDN programmable devices—that is, OpenFlow switches. Why? Because they are part of the physical networking infrastructure.

Are we repeating the same mistakes from the past all over again? Are we segmenting responsibilities that should otherwise be tightly coupled simply because the devices are different? It seems many vendors out there would like to make you believe so.

We are proud to introduce the new unified IBM Software Defined Network for Virtual Environments (SDN VE) controller. I say “unified” because it encompasses both network overlays and physical programmability of your physical devices within the same controller. Not different controllers, not different teams—one unified controller that deploys and manages all of the networking elements, both virtual and physical.

SDN VE Platform

The new IBM SDN VE controller is a key part of the overall IBM initiative for Software Defined Environment (SDE), giving you a complete system perspective of the data center for further virtualization, integration and optimization. When building your software defined data center infrastructure, it is critical to consider how each software defined-component – compute, storage, network and management – will work together.

We don’t want to recreate islands of responsibilities again. In fact, our goal is to enable organizations to build centralized, programmable network infrastructures that can automatically and dynamically address their changing business requirements.

With IBM’s new unified IBM Software Defined Network for Virtual Environments (SDN VE) controller, you can create a more responsive network today by creating a secure, dedicated virtual network without changing your underlying physical Infrastructure.

To learn more, I encourage you to visit our SDN VE website or join the conversation with us on Twitter at @IBMSysNet.

Charles Ferland is the Software Defined Networking (SDN) Global Sales and Business Development Executive and is responsible for IBM’s worldwide SDN sales, business development and strategy. His focus area is evolving around new networking technologies and how to best integrate them in data center practices so they benefit IBM’s customers.

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