The network is essential — now it needs to be programmable
Today’s enterprise networks fuel the way people live, work and play. But their ability to push out the rising volume of data and applications in real time and meet expectations is increasingly in jeopardy. The pervasiveness of cloud computing, along with the escalating demand for mobility and social collaboration, continues to place an enormous strain on enterprise networks. Too often, innovative development can be stalled for weeks or months waiting for provisioning of expensive and inflexible network services. The cumulative effect can be devastating for the business.
Traditional network architectures that are too old, too rigid and too expensive to scale are out of alignment with today’s hybrid cloud and IT-as-a-service (ITaaS) deployments. Whether organizations are actively pursuing growth opportunities through innovation or reductions in cost and complexity, they need a network that is automated, intelligent and optimized for seamless operation within an increasingly virtualized and hybrid IT environment.
A different approach
Take, for example, a major international airline that needed to reinvent its global network to improve reliability, cost and service to customers. As the airline network expanded, so did cost and complexity. Additionally, the enterprise was dealing with the challenge of internet services that varied significantly in reliability and cost across many of the countries they served.
A multiprovider approach, which combined capacities from different carriers, enabled the airline to take advantage of individual providers’ local strengths and make up for the shortfall in certain regions. It provided customers with powerful and secure links to the enterprise network and major reservation systems through a virtual private network.
Highly interactive cloud-based applications and volatile traffic patterns demand a network infrastructure that is more agile, more adaptable and more in sync with the business it supports. The need for instantaneous, elastic connectivity across the enterprise is no longer just an option — it’s essential for a successful business. Additionally, the network needs to be managed as a programmable service providing enterprises a single management pane to view and program their network securely. This drives greater transparency, ensures resiliency, integrates security, and enables agility to scale quickly.
What’s required for transformation
Networking, IT and business requirements demand solutions that work holistically within an enterprise. These solutions require input from a broad spectrum of domains and stakeholders throughout the enterprise. Thus, network consulting projects are often complex, transformative and differentiated. To maximize value and minimize disruption as an enterprise moves through a network transformation project, enterprise decision-makers must:
- Ensure a services firm can strategically prioritize networking, operational and business requirements.
- Bring together disparate stakeholders and influencers to ensure a linkage between the business and the technology.
- Deliver the project in a globally consistent manner in a variety of consumption and payment models.
- Define and deliver repeatable methodologies for technology, operational and business change.
- Articulate investments in new technologies, processes, and tools for efficient, secure and intelligent service delivery.
The business advantages of a dynamic, programmable and virtualized network environment are significant and include more innovation, faster time to market and better security. It’s imperative when it comes to successful deployment of hybrid cloud and ITaaS. The transition to software-defined networking requires thoughtful strategy and design to prepare the organization and the infrastructure. IBM offers the knowledge, experience and services to help develop the necessary skills and facilitate network transformation.