Why you need a hybrid network while migrating to SDN

Should you start with implementing hybrid networks on your way to SDN migration?

Unless you are building a new network (a greenfield application deployment), the introduction of software-defined networking (SDN) products and protocols will involve the migration from a traditional network to include hybrid SDN capabilities. This means the new network must be designed to support SDN protocols on both physical and virtual switching environments, with a management framework to support both.

A hybrid network provides the advantage of offering enterprise IT a gradual migration from its current network architecture. This means the ability to leverage existing Layer 2 and Layer 3 physical networks without having to rip and replace the network. Hybrid SDN and traditional networking will appeal to IT organizations looking to gain the benefits of SDN, which include improved provisioning, network flexibility, Quality of Service (QoS) and programmability during the SDN migration.

The majority of SDN vendors have architectures and products that support a gradual migration from traditional networks to SDN, including Cisco, HP, IBM, Juniper, Brocade, Avaya, VMware, Big Switch, ADARA Networks, Embrane, Pertino, Pluribus Networks, Vello Systems and many other suppliers. Buyers should carefully evaluate a specific vendor's ability to migrate their network from its current state to SDN.

This was first published in March 2013

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