Enhancing Network Efficiency – Tapping Unused Resources with SDN
This is the fifth post in the series – Strategies for Maximizing Network Efficiency
Inefficient resource utilization is an expensive situation for service provides – especially when you consider the fact that typical operators today are leaving 45% of their resources unused at any given time. With the high cost of infrastructure, service providers can’t afford to let any of their assets sit idle. Luckily, software defined networking (SDN) will eventually help rectify this problem. Its main tenets – dynamic pathing and centralized control – give operators the power they need to get the most out of all their infrastructure investments
One aspect of SDN is improved network management that is the result of a ‘centralized controller’ that will enable unconstrained paths that are fully programmable. By separating the control plane from the data plane, operators will also gain a network-wide management solution for seamlessly managing resources across distributed multi-vendor networks running multiple services.
SDN: Improve Operations and Reduce Costs
In practice, network operators will gain wide ranging benefits when SDN is implemented in the network and they move to a shared resource model:
- Higher return on assets: With SDN, network operators can improve resource utilization levels by up to 60%. Being able to support additional customers with existing assets is critical to controlling operating costs and rapidly scaling to meet increased demand.
- Granular policy control: With a fully programmable central controller, operators can tightly govern how services, customers and communications are prioritized and how resources should be allocated when usage spikes.
- Streamlined administration: With a centralized solution, service providers can more efficiently manage, upgrade and configure network infrastructure elements. It eliminates much of the low-level, manual tasks that are currently consuming a huge percentage of an administrator’s daily life.
- Burst coverage: With a shared resource model, operators have the bandwidth reserves they need to cover spikes in customer activity or service usage. In this model, companies no longer have to overprovision networks with dedicated resources to ensure that SLAs are met.
- Improved performance: With dynamic pathing, the SDN controller is free to find the most efficient, reliable path between two points. Faster connections are important for ensuring a great user experience for every transition.
While the full benefits of SDN will likely require a major overhaul of the network infrastructure, that doesn’t mean that SDN has to be an all or nothing transformation. ECI’s LightAPPS™, for example, utilize the existing NMS layer to enable service providers to experience the benefits of SDN over their current infrastructure.
Moreover, since LightAPPS™ are completely portable - your investment is guaranteed. Currently ECI provides solutions for bandwidth on demand, service scheduling, network analytics and automation. All these provide many of the SDN benefits mentioned above, without the upgrades and costly overhauls.
While there isn’t one magic bullet solution for increasing network efficiency and cutting operating costs, many service providers continue to believe that SDN and NFV will eventually provide the needed alleviation of network resources. Their high impact benefits ensure that operators are maximizing resource utilization while streamlining many tasks to become more efficient from an administrative perspective. The end result will be a network able to support a greater number of customers without sacrificing user experience.
Have you begun implementing SDN in your network? Share your tips for success in the space below.