Today you have more users on more devices, accessing more apps from more locations than ever. Apps and data are moving out of traditional data centres—to multiple clouds, to branch offices, to the edge. And they’re no longer monolithic. They’re distributed; they’re built using microservices, they’re using data from a variety of sources; they reside across a heterogeneous infrastructure.
This means a flexible and secure network is a critical requirement for a digital foundation that supports your apps. The network needs to be as agile as the business, with the capability to adapt as business and application needs require. That can only happen in software.
A software-defined networking approach leverages network virtualisation—creating a network abstraction in software. Network virtualisation makes it easier to provide a consistent level of connectivity, policy and automation wherever your apps and data reside. This means interoperability across virtual machines, bare metal servers, and containers, as well as on-premises, public cloud, IoT edge devices, or cloud-based services.
We call this the Virtual Cloud Network. It’s our approach to networking today and into the future as we move from data centres to centres of data. With the Virtual Cloud Network, you can connect and protect apps and data, regardless of where they reside. Virtual Cloud Network provides networking consistency end to end; it’s fully defined in software so it’s programmable and automated, and it’s intrinsically more secure than hardware-based networks because security policies sit as close as possible to the app. This paradigm must extend to the edge as, increasingly, customers are building branch and edge sites to be more intelligent, efficient and automated. With a fully virtualised edge, you can add new applications, cloud-enabled edge services, and network and security services by deploying additional software or simply updating existing policies.
Software-defined wide area networking (SD-WAN) is a transformational approach that simplifies branch office and edge networking – reducing costs and complexity and assuring optimal application performance. SD-WAN helps accelerate your business by managing, optimizing, and securing all application traffic from distributed locations to private and public cloud data centres. An extension of software-defined networking, VMware’s SD-WAN solution (VMware SD-WAN by VeloCloud) enables your organisation to provision branch offices and edge locations faster with automated, zero-touch deployment and the ability to insert network services. SD-WAN also gives you unprecedented control of your network functions with consolidated monitoring and visibility across multiple WAN links and service providers.
Software-defined networking enables powerful automation. Information Technology Intelligence Corp.’s 2018 survey of more than 800 customers worldwide found that 59 percent of respondents cited human error as the No. 1 cause of unplanned downtime.1 If instead you rely on rules and automation for network configuration, you’re able to streamline operations and reduce operator error.
However, although you need to connect everything, you can’t build flat networks. It would be a security nightmare. In today’s distributed app environment, our technology enables you to wrap security as close as possible to each of your apps and components, making it possible to compartmentalise the network through micro-segmentation, ensuring that the app is doing only what it should be doing.
With VMware networking solutions, you’re able to address the needs of your multi-cloud and modern multi-app reality and enable consistent networking and security policies to follow your apps and data across your entire IT environment, from data centre to cloud to branch to edge. ▪