A Primer To Software-Defined Networking (SDN)

Software-defined Networking (SDN), the latest advancement in networking, decouples control from hardware and transfers it to a software plane known as a Controller, allowing for swift management of network movement by network administrators.

In other words, network managers are given more leeway than before to control the network. It allows multiple vendor applications, which use the network, to be managed from one central point.

By separating the control and forwarding planes, SDN permits both to be optimized.

Controller, which is analogous to the brain of a human being, allows network administrators to decide easily and quickly as to how the core systems, such as switches and routers, of the forwarding plane will manage the traffic.

In SDN networks, OpenFlow is reported to be the most widely used protocols, which enable the communication between Controller and the switches.

Open application programming interfaces (Open APIs) are also utilized in SDN to provide support to all the applications and services that operate over the network. These APIs are referred to as Northbound APIs. They enable innovation and facilitate competent service orchestra and automation.

This implicates that SDN allows a network administrator to determine traffic and position services, so that changing business requirements can be accommodated, without each individual router or switch having to be touched in the forwarding plane.

Notable gains are being realized for enterprises with the deployment of SDN. Other attendant benefits include efficient operations of networks, increased automation, and facilitating the deployment of new applications much more quickly and seamlessly.

All this can happen without upgrading the existing infrastructure. Network is given a better web of security too.

It is expected that operating costs will come down and, therefore, over time capital expenditure will also decrease while setting up network infrastructure.

Although the technology is not yet matured, there is an opinion that SDN will usher in concrete enterprise gains, such as traffic governance, traffic speed enhancement, and improved security.

Developers of SDN are toiling away in a bid to make this technology open and flexible, and yet also compliant with Internet standards.

OpenFlow and SDN Controllers, such as Neutron and Floodlight, are reportedly gaining traction and establishing themselves.

The major benefits that will be accrued from SDN are capabilities for innovation of network technology and flexibility, and all this while reducing complexity and administrative hurdles.

We can conclude from the advantages mentioned above that enterprise IT should be ready to embrace SDN at the earliest.

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