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Software Defined Network - campus

Software Defined Network

Hubert Rémond, Senior Consultant

Following the first article about SDN in a broad sense, this time, I would like to focus on SDN applied to campus-type networks, i.e. on the end-user side.

Before going further, let's clarify the main role of this network: to allow users and all kinds of devices (PCs, mobiles, cameras, printers, etc...) to connect in a reliable and secure way to the company's IT resources. The network teams that operate this infrastructure must therefore guarantee the highest possible availability and security, in order to provide the best user experience.

There are two ways for the User/device to connect to the infrastructure, either via wired (LAN) or wireless (Wireless LAN). Although these two media each have their own characteristics, it is necessary today to manage them in a unified way, because ultimately, they are two different ways for the same user/device to access IT resources. SDN enables that centralized deployment and unified management, through a high degree of automation (and therefore standardization). 

The unified management of the access infrastructure implies having a unified network access policy (i.e. authentication, authorization and segmentation), common to the LAN and WLAN and linked to the identity of the user/device (and no longer to its IP address as this can change).

We can no longer afford to have different policies between wired and wireless access (to avoid disparities, a major security risk factor) nor to have to do the same work twice (which leads to overwork and loss of useful time for IT teams). This access policy must be managed centrally and pushed to all network devices, following the principle of "Define Once, Push Everywhere" :  each new network device will be able to automatically receive the latest access policies and enforce them immediately.

SDN enables that global access and segmentation policy based on the identity of the user/device. The result is an elevated level of protection against cyber-attacks, which are increasingly numerous and complex.

In addition, the SDN offers global visibility of everything that happens on the network (who/what connects, who/what communicates with whom/what), and makes it possible to react swiftly and effectively if necessary. For IT teams, this means reduced incident detection and resolution times, thus guaranteeing the highest possible SLAs.

Automation, Centralization, and Visibility are the key factors for a successful transition to SDN.

This new approach necessarily implies various levels of changes, sometimes significant, both in the infrastructure’s design and architecture, as well as in the operational management processes. Thanks to our experience in this field, we have already been able to support some of our customers in this transition, whether it be during technical and functional workshops, during "Proof of Concept" (for validation of the target solution), and of course during production ramp-up.

We are at your disposal to accompany you and thus enable you to meet these needs, so that the network does not become a hindrance but a facilitator of new digital services.

Software Defined Network - campus
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