As the industry continues to experiment and embrace the world of Software Defined Networking (SDN). We’re frequently asked about the nature of this new approach and the benefits it offers to those that adopt it.
Cue the quick overview:
SDN gives network administrators the ability to alter the way networks are managed, by reducing/altering lower level functionality. In order to make this possible SDN splits the control plane (system that decides where traffic will be sent) and the data plane (systems that route traffic to the required destination)
Currently the forerunner in providing the protocol that allows the control & data planes to communicate is OpenFlow. Many of the major brands making significant progress within SDN are using OpenFlow to create a multi-vendor standard which they can all build upon.
The benefits of SDN architecture:
• Bespoke/unique configurations: Network admins can write/develop their own programs that automate SDN. This can be used to define how the admins configure; optimise, manage and secure their network.
• Management: software based control gives a complete view of the network.
• Vendor neutral: using open standards, SDN reduces complex network environs as control is provided by controllers instead of various vendor devices with their own ‘hard coded’ platforms.
• Direct control: By splitting the data and control plane, network control becomes directly programmable.
The ability to grasp full control over a network, as well as developing applications and IP that increases the reliance upon network staff can only be a good thing. Furthermore the power to change what historically led to a ‘top trumps’ approach to purchasing network equipment based on comparing vendor’s offerings will truly usher in a complete step-change in network design and implementation