Network infrastructure planning
Taking what’s best from traditional networks, SDNs, VNFs and clouds
At CodiLime, we have been designing networks, network services and network solutions for the last decade. Working with traditional telco and enterprise networks has made us well aware of the challenges these networks face every day: resilience, scalability and performance, to name a few. To ensure all these requirements are met, good infrastructure design and planning are required. We carefully plan solution architecture, including HLD, LLD, and validating the final solution.
When designing and building network infrastructure, we integrate technologies that are best fit for purpose, including SDNs and cloud deployments where advisable. Automation is also used to both deploy and operate networks.
Last but not least, we ensure holistic monitoring of the solution designed.
SDN is an approach to networking that enables the programmatic control of a network. Such an approach is more congruent with cloud computing than traditional rigid networking.
One of the drivers behind SDN is a desire to create a more flexible approach. When implementing SDN in practice, automation and flexibility are key concepts.
What are the main reasons companies invest in Software-Defined Networking solutions? First of all, networks that use SDN are more flexible, allowing updates and changes to be made faster. Moreover, the number of errors and downtime are reduced, as automation in many cases eliminates the human factor. Because network operators have full topology visibility, SDN also allows for more efficient network traffic routing, especially when traffic is peaking. Last but not least, SDN creates an important technological advantage in networking. Introducing a new functionality in networks is extremely time-consuming and prohibitively expensive. Time-to-market is even worse, if there are multiple vendors in a network. But if a company can introduce its innovations faster, it will gain considerable competitive advantage. This is precisely why tech giants including Google, Amazon or Facebook have adopted SDN in their production environments.
Like all networking domains, a data center’s networks also evolve. L2-based data centers are evolving to IP fabrics, while standard protocols like STP are being replaced by BGP, EVPN, VXLAN or MPLS. The new approach to building a data center allows for greater robustness, better scalability and resource usage optimization.
The adoption of new technologies within a DC domain poses challenges that are common for the entire networking domain. How should an existing solution be migrated to a new one? What equipment would be the most appropriate to fit the purpose? Can some of the legacy devices be used in a new solution? How can two or more locations be connected to build a resilient infrastructure?
Automation is yet another challenge in building a next generation DC. For older DCs, resource planning (like VLAN numbering), configuration and maintenance is often done manually. With IP-fabrics, a certain level of automation is desirable, at least for configuring the devices and connecting the workloads including bare metal servers, virtual machines and containers. BMSs require proper switch(es) configuration, but for VMs and containers the most common approach would be to use a software router or adopt an SDN
Last but not least, every data center needs a good monitoring system which can show the health of both the infrastructure and virtual entities.
Wide Area Network is a broad subject. From our point of view, it encompasses all of the kinds of networking telecommunication operators or Internet Service Providers have. WAN is usually a mix of different types of technologies: from the old ones like ATM to new ones like SD-WAN. This mix of technologies is a natural result of these networks evolving, with new solutions and services constantly being added, while legacy ones had to be supported no less as they widely were used by loyal customers.
A telco network is a single organism but with well-defined and distinct domains: wireline access or radio access, aggregation, IP/MPLS core and edge, mobile packet core and others. Each of these domains serves a different purpose and uses different networks protocols (at least to some extent). Thickening the complexity, new solutions are constantly being added on top of these, including: cloud connectivity (both private and public) and SD-WANs.
The never-ending evolution means some of these domains are ready to be migrated to new technologies, but some are not. The most common and widely adopted approach is Network Function Virtualization (NFV). This allows for the use of virtual entities like Virtual Machines to serve network functions (for example, a firewall) that were previously realized by dedicated hardware devices. NFV introduces new connectivity challenges, the need for using either proprietary DCs or public clouds, and SDNs and monitoring challenges.
Software-Defined Wide Area Network (SD-WAN) is the implementation of SDN into WAN topology.
SD-WAN architecture allows enterprises to use different uplinks (MPLS, LTE etc.) across different branch offices. A centralized control plane, meanwhile, enables administrators to configure devices remotely. Administrators can also configure more advanced algorithms to manage network traffic.
SD-WAN can considerably enhance a traditional WAN architecture, offering such benefits as: