Todd Ellison

Todd Ellison
VeriStor Practice Lead, Networking

The software-defined network (SDN) is changing the landscape for IT. In fact, it’s the biggest transformation in networking that I’ve ever seen. When implemented well it can empower IT to become a true innovation engine for the business, not just a cost center. But, too many SDN projects stall before the business can realize value. To truly achieve the agility and efficiency promise of SDN, you need to look at the big picture. Consider these five steps towards SDN success:

  1. Get Buy-In from the Right Stakeholders – SDN touches multiple teams and stakeholders. As such, it can’t be implemented in a vacuum. You must engage the right stakeholders from both the technical and business side to achieve success. Because it ultimately touches multiple areas – from applications and security to infrastructure and networking – SDN requires team and business buy in. Without it, it can be easy to fall back into old operational and technical models.
  2. Integrate Business Teams First, then Technology – While buy-in is important, team collaboration can’t stop there. In order to drive SDN adoption, traditional siloed teams need to collaborate and integrate their processes and goals. Transforming the data center to adopt a software-defined approach requires changing the way we architect and manage the environment. This requires an integrated approach to IT. Only once you integrate your teams and practices can you efficiently integrate the technology.
  3. Establish Cross-Functional Communication Paths – The process of team integration often hits barriers due to a lack of communication. To succeed with your SDN implementation you must establish new and efficient cross-functional communication processes. This will help your IT organization succeed in creating the right policies and operational model around SDN for efficient and repeatable processes.
  4. Re-Evaluate Your IT Purchase Criteria – Once you’ve mapped a plan for team integration, consider next the purchase criteria you have established for your product selection. Products used in an SDN environment must integrate easily and deliver value in the areas of agility and efficiency. Old methods of product selection based simply on best-of-breed performance now need to be weighed with how well those products will integrate into a SDN environment and their long-term roadmap for SDN support.
  5. Train Your Internal Experts – When you take on projects that will significantly evolve your infrastructure, you will inevitably run into issues without training. It can be a common concern that you might not have the right people to take on our SDN journey. But in reality, most organizations have internal staff that have both the ability and desire to drive the software-defined environment you need, they simply need some guidance and training. In truth, SDN is simply a different way of doing many of the things we already do in today’s traditionally networked environment. Training can make the difference.

Learn how easily you can embrace SDDN for the agile, efficient innovation engine your business requires. To take the first step, consider joining VeriStor for our upcoming free Networking Tech Summit seminar. The one-day event, “Next Generation Network Strategies in a Cloud World,” to be held February 23 will feature detailed sessions outlining best practices for redefining network functions, operations and security for the software-defined data center. Seating is limited, so register today.