SDN is a very popular technology in Networking. SDN stands for Software Defined Networking and it is gaining momentum very rapidly.
In simple terms, SDN is an approach to networking that aims to ease the network administrator’s job of managing network behavior through open interfaces. This will enable network administrators to quickly respond to the changing business requirements.
How Software Defined Networking (SDN) works?
SDN approach separates the Network Control Plane and the Forward Plane and gives the network administrator the direct control to program the Control plane.
Here is a small scenario to help you understand how SDN works.
In the traditional approach, the control plane is preprogrammed to follow specific rules.
The switch has inbuilt rules in its firmware that dictates where to forward the data packets received by it. SDN allows the administrator to control this process.
Implementing SDN makes the switch send query to the SDN controller for guidance and using the controller the administrator can set up the rules regarding the forwarding of data.
With SDN you have the power to change any network switch’s rules whenever you want.
In this process, the switch also sends the information about the traffic received by it to the controller. This information can be used by the network administrators to efficiently manage traffic.
Let’s take a deeper dive into SDN and see its relevance/benefits for your business by understanding:
- The SDN – Need of the hour
- Benefits of SDN
- Traditional Networks V/s SDN
#The SDN – Need of the hour
The traditional designs that are built with layers of Ethernet switches compiled in a tree structure performed well only till the time client-server computing had the upper-hand.
But today’s networking environment is totally different from that. It is more complex and dynamic.
The networking environment today encompasses dynamic technologies like Data Centers that have dynamic computing and storage needs as well, which cannot be fulfilled by the hardware-defined traditional networks.
And that is why Software defined networking has become the need of the hour.
Here are the trends that are driving this shift towards need for an easily manageable and programmable network infrastructure –
Changing Traffic Patterns
The change in the traffic patterns across the enterprise data center is becoming increasingly challenging now. The Internet is expanding its reach more than ever now and more people are getting connected to it every day.
This necessitates all businesses to have a robust and flexible traffic management set up in place, with which they can easily control the flow of traffic and provide for better user experience.
Increasing demand for cloud services by users
Cloud based services are in great demand all over the world. Businesses now want to provide for this increasing demand for cloud services and get over the limitations of accessing geographically separated data centers and servers.
Another important reason that vouches for the need of a software–defined network is the emergence of IT consumerization.
The use of devices and applications for both personal and business use is quite common today and it’s on a hike. Businesses today are driven by a workforce that supports the use of personal devices for business purposes.
Only a flexible and secure network can be able to accommodate emerging trends like “Bring Your Own Device” (BYOD) and ‘Work from Home’.
Challenge of handling‘Big Data’
When so much of change happens, the data being generated will also be BIG.
To be able to cope with such exponential size of data that gets created every hour, an easily scalable bandwidth is required. This is another factor that calls for a software-defined network.
Continued dependence on vendors for scalability and optimization
When it comes to adding features, the traditional networks force you to depend on the vendors and sometimes it is even impossible to scale up, unless you purchase new upgrades.
This leads to wastage of time and resources, as you’ll have to wait on the up gradation process according to the vendor’s timeline.
#2 Benefits of SDN
Software defined networking has been brought into light to provide answers to the above-mentioned problems faced by the businesses across the world.
SDN offers the following benefits:
Direct programmability –
Since SDN decouples the control plane from the forwarding plane, the network controller can be directly programmed.
Efficient Traffic Management –
Implementing SDN allows the IT administrator to adjust the traffic flow according to the changing business needs.
Quick response to stay ahead in a dynamic environment–
SDN helps the network administrators to quickly configure and optimize the network for smooth flow of operations.
Security optimization at granular levels–
SDN controller helps in optimizing the security to its best to provide for emerging trends like BYOD. The vulnerability aspect of using personal devices and technologies for business can now be taken care of.
Fast Deployment that supports agility
It is very easy to create networks in an SDN; easier than creating VM instances.
Lowered Operating Cost –
The implementation of SDN helps in improving the network management, which in turn lowers the operating cost of the business.
Reduced dependence on vendors for addressing scalability issues –
SDN empowers the network administrators to write SDN programs themselves, as these programs have no dependency on proprietary software.
This reduces businesses dependence on vendors for addressing scalability issues, thereby facilitating smooth flow of all operations.
#3 Traditional Networks V/s SDN
|Overview||Predominantly hardware driven||Software defined|
|Scalability||Poses difficulty when it comes to scaling and adding features||Makes it possible to easily define the network structure|
|Innovation||No place for innovation||Ability to create new types of applications, services, and business models|
|Vendor Dependence||High dependence on vendor which causes delay in another business process||Very low dependence on vendor as network administrators can themselves define changes according to requirements|
Software-defined networking is a technology that has a growing demand in the field of information technology. The demand for this technology is only going to increase in the coming years as IT managers and administrators are very appreciative about the comfort that SDN provides in managing the entire network.
SDN maximizes the scope innovation and scalability and it also decreases the dependence of businesses on the vendors. It is also a solution to the problems like handling big data and evolving trends like ‘Bring Your Own Device’.
The great deal of power that this technology provides to the network administrators can help them in utilizing business’s resources to the optimum level and also keep up with the changes and trends shaping up in the future.