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What Is Open Networking?

Updated on Jun 1, 2022 by
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FS Data Center Switches

As technologies develop, network architecture is constantly changing to meet business needs. Some service providers and other large organizations are trying to transition from traditional networks to open networking in an effort to reduce costs, increase flexibility, and better serve customers. This article will introduce open networking in detail, hoping to help you make an intelligent decision about whether to adopt it.

What Is Open Networking?

Open networking refers to a network that separates networking hardware devices from software code. It is based on open standards and bare-metal hardware, allowing enterprises to flexibly choose equipment, software, and networking operating systems (OS). Thus, open networking aims to provide a flexible, agile, and programmable network. Furthermore, open networking effectively leverages the separation between software and hardware. This approach makes computer systems open in terms of component compatibility, interoperability, and expandability. As a result, enterprises gain greater flexibility, facilitating their development.

Open Networking Benefits over Traditional Network

Compared to traditional networks, open networking provides enhanced flexibility and enables businesses to reduce their costs, increase capabilities and drive better ROI.

Open Networking vs Traditional Network

Enhanced Flexibility

Open networks are more flexible than traditional networks and enable multiple choices for enterprises' network deployment. With open networking, you are free to deploy the appropriate topology and protocols architecturally according to your needs. And equipment, software, and architectural designs can be sourced from different vendors, making the most cost-effective network configuration possible. Additionally, in a traditional network, programming the network involves following specific standard protocols. In contrast, open networks enable developers to program the network directly.

Higher Agility and Productivity

Open networks are managed through common open interfaces and protocols, allowing for faster network testing, validation and deployment. In addition, it is easier to eliminate overbuilds or stagnant bandwidth, which helps you make the fullest use of existing resources. Thus, open networking can offer you greater speed of execution and higher productivity. Ultimately, it can result in faster service extension.

Cost Efficiency

Open networking is more cost-effective compared to traditional network solutions. It is not reliant on specific vendors, allowing you to procure hardware directly from the original manufacturers based on your requirements. Additionally, it utilizes software that can either be open source or commercially produced. What's more, industry statistics show that open networks offer significant savings in terms of space, energy, and overall cost compared to traditional networks. With open networking, rack utilization and power usage are above 50%.

Factors to Consider when Moving to Open Networking

Navigating the realm of open networking involves careful consideration of interconnected aspects, each pivotal for a successful transition. The following factors are all factors that must be considered in the transition from traditional networks to open networks.

1. The Connected Devices

Before deploying open networking, you need to carefully select the required equipment. For example, you need to choose an appropriate switch, such as one with an open-standard user interface. The open standard makes switches easier to use and operate with less personnel, thus reducing your OPEX. The right open networking solution should depend on your organization's needs, requirements and budget.

2. Budget

Although open networking deployment is more cost-effective than traditional networks, you should also take your budget into consideration. Make sure your budget is sufficient to support the transition to open networking before further configuration.

3. The Skills to Deploy and Maintain Your Network

Moving to open networking will change the entire architecture. Hence, a dedicated team is required to handle deployment and maintenance issues. This team also ensures follow-up operation and technical support for the open network. A specific solution needs to be in place for how to address skill issues of the staff involved prior to deployment.

In conclusion, to be truly successful, open networking solutions must be built on a strategic design architecture and implemented with long-term operations and maintenance in mind. Ensure proficiency in all phases of the open web - from ideation to execution and beyond.

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