Networks are at the heart of every enterprise. Increasingly complex environments now mean a mobile workforce with a decentralized office mode. This means for a hybrid network environment – as well as more stringent cost controls – are highly sought after to ensure efficiency and strategic business growth.
While traditional network architectures are stable and reliable, what enterprises need are agile, flexible, and cost-effective solutions to the above challenges.
With the slow but steady rise of NFV and SDN, the industry is now understanding the benefits that a simplified and streamlined network can bring, especially for enterprises operating in the fragmented Asia-Pacific market.
The fragmentation of networks in APAC
The issues that arise from a fragmented network landscape are most evident in the Asia-Pacific region. Enterprises must deal with problems such as geopolitical lines, which means that each country has their own regulatory environment while many areas are separated by physical barriers. What’s more, enterprises may work with numerous local network service providers, each with their own challenges.
The problems of a fragmented network landscape boil down to four key points:
- A WAN adds complexity
- Bulky networks lack agility, flexibility and cost efficiency
- End-point security is an issue
- Poor application performance and end-user experience will affect productivity and increase costs
However, the Asia-Pacific Region – with its increasing demand for cloud, mobile BYOD, big data, and voice and video communication – is where the greatest opportunities now lie.
This is also where NFV and SDN technology can play a key differentiating role, and CIOs in APAC are fast realizing the potential of these technologies. A recent IDC global research study commissioned by NTT Communications revealed that 18% of respondents from Asia are currently using NFV to address network challenges in the region, and over 70% plan to deploy NFV within two years.
NFV & SDN at a glance
The combination of NFV and SDN offer enterprise networks two main benefits – agility and flexibility – all from the cloud.
NFV removes the need for proprietary hardware by virtualizing and centralizing network functions into software. This gives enterprises greater control over networks, and improves network access flexibility, security and performance.
Complementing NFV is SDN, which enhances network capacity by giving administrators better control over the flow of data. This is especially useful during peak traffic times when there’s a demand for more bandwidth.
More importantly, SDN is the architectural model that enables network virtualization and network programmability for data centers and enterprise networks. It does this by decoupling the control plane from the data forwarding plane, creating a new layer of abstraction in networking to allow management flexibility and help lower operational costs.
Together, NFV and SDN offer enterprise network administrators more control and customization options, which ultimately improve the end-user experience and give them more centralized business applications.