3 ways SDN can help automate your business

Cisco SDN Business AutomationIn the previous blog on this topic, we started looking at ways to get started with software defined networking (SDN), and make sure your SDN implementation is successful. We showed how easy migration, scalability and openness help lead to SDN implementations that meet your organization’s needs.

In this post, we’ll focus on the overarching characteristic that helps lead to those benefits: automation. As we discussed in our last post, Cisco Application Centric Infrastructure offers many automation features that can help make that transition to SDN much easier, and help your project be successful going forward.

This time, we want to provide a bit more real-world perspective, to show actual implementations rather than theoretical advantages. Nothing is a magic bullet, but customer results, thus far, have been impressive. We’ve seen it anecdotally, and Cisco reports that some customers have had ROI times of less than a year, and achieved almost a 90 percent reduction in their app development lifecycle time. As we look at three ways SDN can help you automate your business, we’ll use some real customer examples, complete with real numbers, to show real benefits

Network automation

A very common problem companies face today is a never-ending demand for faster network access. This can be from customers using your apps, employees trying to do their jobs and even the rapidly growing demand from Internet of Things (IoT) devices.

This ever-increasing demand not only puts stress on the network itself, but on support staff, and requires a new data center model to efficiently solve it. This was the problem that du, an integrated telecommunications provider based in Dubai, recently faced. The solution proved to be a next-generation data center based on Cisco ACI.

With a new application-focused fabric, ACI’s cloud automation features help support a highly extensible and secure, open, multitenant environment. This has significantly decreased the amount of time it takes du to develop services, and increased the speed that those services can be used over its network.

Services automation

It should come as no surprise that many companies are now looking to use a hybrid cloud model to deliver services, rather than the traditional on-premise model. Making this transition, and managing the services afterwards, can be easier said than done.

When Isle of Man-based Manx Telecom faced this challenge, it turned to Cisco ACI to deliver an end-to-end solution for its public and private cloud. By virtualizing and automating network functions, Manx has cut its service running costs by about 20 percent and reduced the time it takes to deploy new services by up to 50 percent. It’s more difficult to measure the use of IT time, but the company also estimates that engineers have freed up 30 percent more time to work on other IT projects.

Applications automation

Throughout both of these posts we’ve discussed the constant upward trend of traffic, users and demands on your IT infrastructure, which of course, makes manually managing your applications and keeping them running optimally an almost impossible task. In fact, according to a Sauce Labs study, under half of all organizations can deploy apps as quickly as they’re needed. It’s a major source of the demand for SDN.

Netherlands-based VECOZO, a healthcare non-profit, knows this dilemma all too well. Trying to process two billion messages across 118,000 users — and growing — the organization was facing an alarming rise in application demands and needs. With a Cisco ACI solution, combined with capabilities from Citrix, VECOZO was able to upend its IT model, automating many of the tasks required for application development and management. New applications can now be deployed five times faster than before SDN, with a smaller data center footprint to boot.

One thing that becomes clear after reading these two posts is that the traditional network model is no longer sufficient for the demands many companies are facing from users and customers. With the need for increased network speed, shorter development times and easier, less expensive management, organizations are ready for a new model. SDN options, including ACI from Cisco, are stepping in to solve these problems, and provide a new way for IT departments to meet their company’s needs.

With some background on what is required for a successful SDN implementation, now you know how it can significantly improve your business. To learn more, check out our Cisco partner page, and download our Cisco ACI infographic. They provide even more information on how you can improve your business using SDN.


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Drew Woods
Senior Marketing Communications Manager
Key Information Systems