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SDN Success Requires Management

By Gladys Alegre-Kimura, Global Product Marketing Manager, HP Networking


gak.jpgIn the SDN Journey Part 8 – Managing Software Defined Networks, Jim Metzler discusses the emerging best practice of a single pane-of-glass approach to network management, which encompasses wired and wireless networks, physical and virtual networks, LANs and WANs, as well as all three layers of the SDN architecture.


Jim was spot on when he stated, “You will not be successful implementing SDN if you don’t have the ability to manage it”. Although the management of SDN doesn’t get as much attention as other parts of SDN, a management tool for SDN is absolutely crucial.


Is it necessary to separate the management of SDN from traditional networks?


SDN environments require monitoring and management for all three layers of the architecture: infrastructure, control, and application. 




In order to properly manage the infrastructure layer, it is important to monitor fault and performance in wired and wireless infrastructure, as well as in both the physical and virtual environments.




A new entity for network management, although not an entirely new concept, is the SDN controller. It functions similarly to a wireless controller, and is able to help manage the SDN environment.  Like any other networking component, a poorly performing controller means poor performance and unhappy users, so being able to manage the controller itself as an appliance on the network ensures that the control layer is properly monitored.




The promise of SDN is the applications, so it makes sense that it is mandatory to also manage and monitor the applications running in and on top of the controller. Additionally, SDN application management should include the deployment of applications onto the controller, license manage, and so forth.


With SDN-only environments having a long ways to go before becoming a reality, Jim believes that managing SDN should be a mere extension of traditional network management. Hybrid networks are here and here to stay, so there isn’t a need to separate SDN management from traditional network management when IT professionals are able to manage both from one platform.


Single pane-of-glass management


gak1_1.pngInstead of visualizing these layers separately, it makes the most sense to be able to visualize the entire network, from end to end.  Visualizing these layers together and being able to see the whole network, traditional and software defined, is a simpler and easier way to manage the network.




Along visualizing the network, and taking into account the flows that are transported throughout a network, it makes the most sense to have all these hybrid network management tools available from a single application.


A single pane-of-glass management for software defined and traditional networks will be available in HP’s Intelligent Management Center (IMC) networking solution. We recently announced the arrival of the IMC VAN SDN module, due later this year, which will be able to provide full fault, configuration, and performance monitoring along with policy management, for both SDN and traditional networks. This will enable IT professionals to troubleshoot issues, whether they reside on the SDN side or the traditional side, all from one application.




HP’s IMC network management tool provides comprehensive network management across wired and wireless, physical and virtual. It is also a multi-vendor platform that supports third party tools. With the introduction of the IMC VAN SDN module, we at HP are extending IMC’s capabilities to also manage SDN environments. This will lend to unified network management operations rather than separate operations for SDN and traditional networks which will lend to success.


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