Does your infrastructure support your applications, or is it the other way around? Applications are what your business really cares about; infrastructure exists to support them. Networking should—but all too often, does not—focus on application and workload requirements.
Too many organizations employ tight coupling between workloads and the physical network. But this approach makes it difficult to efficiently and dynamically deploy and migrate applications.
Rather, each element of an infrastructure—storage, compute, network—should be programmable, automated, and software-controlled. That way, you can automate the infrastructure in support of application needs. This approach allows for a level of responsiveness and scalability that is impossible through other means.
Networking in particular is an area that demands innovation. As such, software-defined networking (SDN) has become a priority for Microsoft. SDN allows organizations to use the cloud to overcome traditional hardware problems, increasing flexibility, scalability, and efficiency. This use of SDN enables enterprises to surpass simple network virtualization and to leverage existing infrastructure investments. To support SDN, Microsoft is taking several steps:
- Simplifying adoption
- Providing deep integration between the cloud and on-premise infrastructure
- Supporting great workload performance
- Simplifying interoperability
The network must dynamically adapt to application and workload demands, rather than being constrained by the shortcomings of today’s networking approaches. In addition, public clouds require an easy way to extend networks across datacenters so that applications and workloads can be deployed or moved dynamically to keep up with business requirements.
Microsoft provides apps and infrastructure for both on-premises and cloud-based workloads and operations. The most recent versions of Windows Server and System Center are foundational to the Microsoft Cloud OS vision. As Brad Anderson notes in his blog post “Networking Without Limits: SDN”:
“Core to our vision is the notion of where customers can transform their infrastructure into a shared, elastic resource pool that can deliver on-demand capacity in a boundary-less manner. In that context, I noted earlier how these new products include innovative new functionality that enable IT teams to use Windows Server and System Center for high-scale virtualization, high-performance storage at dramatically lower costs, as well as in-the-box SDN.”
How can your organization benefit from the advantages of SDN? Anderson makes several suggestions:
- Virtualize your network with a built-in solution such as those available in Windows Server 2012 R2, System Center 2012 R2, and Windows Azure.
- Leverage your existing investments in networking infrastructure.
- Choose a solution that supports hybrid cloud scenarios.
The infrastructure that operates the Microsoft public cloud is application-centric, supporting hosted applications and enabling innovation in those applications. Consistent capabilities across the infrastructure enable innovation in compute, storage, security, and networking. To learn more, read Anderson’s blog post or visit the Microsoft SDN page.