Are You Ready for SDN/SD-WAN?

Over the past decade, IT networking has seen a significant shift. Many organizations are now able to disconnect from their on-premises network infrastructures, and instead connect to the public cloud for their most critical applications and services. This has led to a tremendous increase in the popularity of cloud-based business ecosystems like Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure, which can provide on-demand networking resources.
Software-defined networking has seen a rise in popularity, as well as the more specific and targeted software-defined wide-area network. According to IDC’s 2016 projections the SDN market will experience a 53.9 percent compound annual rate growth rate between 2014 and 2020, eventually reaching $12.5 billion in worth. What are SDN/SD-WAN? What does this mean for Cisco certifications in the new technologies?
Understanding SDN and SDWAN
Let’s begin with some definitions.
SDN refers to the separation of a network’s control (where decisions about packets are made) and its data plane (where packets are actually forwarded). This allows network administrators to have more control over their networks by removing the need to touch individual switches. They can now control traffic from a central console, and respond quickly to changing requirements. SD-WAN is a bit more specific. SD-WAN allows long-distance connections between enterprise sites. This includes branch offices and data center. This allows traffic to be precisely shaped, links and paths can be prioritized, and a wide range of connection types can be supported (including MPLS and cellular). The SDDC’s central idea is that data center infrastructure should offer as much flexibility, responsiveness, and cost-effectiveness as possible. This can be achieved by combining advanced software with less expensive hardware. SDN is a good example of this.
Cisco’s investments into SDN and SDWAN
It looked at first like SDN/SD-WAN was a threat to Cisco’s dominant position as a manufacturer of networking equipment. The company has since developed several solutions to expand its vast product portfolio into the SDN/SDWAN world.
Cisco Application Centric Infrastructure
Cisco Application Centric Infrastructure is an innovative approach to SDN. It emphasizes tight integration between physical and virtual components. The Application Policy Infrastructure Controller allows for central management. All ACI elements share a policy-based operating system. The use of Nexus switches in the larger network and Cisco fabric in the smaller network greatly enhances ACI functionality.
Cisco Intelligent WAN
Cisco’s Intelligent WAN Automation Services were announced in March 2016. They are built on its extensive Digital Network Architecture. DNA complements ACI in that it uses a similar approach to the entire corporate network footprint, including the Internet.
Cisco IWAN makes branch office connectivity much easier in practice. An enterprise can connect remote sites to their data centers and headquarters in a matter of seconds.
Cisco’s original announcement stated that IWAN automation eliminates configuration tasks for advanced network features and automatically enables Cisco best practice, application prioritization path selection and caching to improve user experience.
Software-defined Future: Preparing
Even as new trends like SDN and SDWAN emerge, Cisco equipment will remain at the forefront of enterprise networking. You can be confident that you are equipped with the necessary skills and knowledge to succeed in today’s and future networking landscapes by becoming a Cisco Certified Network Associate Routing & Switching certified.