A Closer Look at Software Defined Networking

A Closer Look at Software Defined Networking

Enterprise Networking Mag | Thursday, April 01, 2021

Software-defined networking enables programmatic management, control, and optimization of network resources.


FREMONT, CA: Software-defined networking (SDN) is a network architectural model that enables programmatic management, control, and optimization. SDN decouples network configuration and traffic engineering from the hardware infrastructure to ensure a holistic and consistent control of the network leveraging open APIs. Here is a closer look.

Traditional network architecture provides minimal flexibility to coordinate between fixed-function network devices that must be configured manually. A single change can have a cascading impact on network performance and has the potential to bring down the whole network. The increasing volumes of data traffic, complex network architecture, and evolving demands to enhance network performance obsolete the traditional method to network management. The constant nature of the traditional network architecture model fails to meet the requirements of modern business IT. Enterprises need a network infrastructure that enables the flexibility to scale and help dynamic computing environments based on quickly evolving technology and business landscapes.

In a traditional network, the control plane and data plane are combined. Any alterations to the system are reliant upon configuring physical network devices, the protocols, and the software they help. Users can perform only limited alterations to the overall system as the network devices bottleneck logical network traffic flows. Devices function autonomously and provide limited logical awareness toward the extensive network. SDN decouples the control plane from the data plane and centrally combines the network logically at the controller level. A controller separated between the two Planes centralizes the network intelligence such that users can opt which programmable features to move from network devices onto the application server.

With SDN algorithms, repeatable device configuration and management operations is not a limitation. Algorithms can incorporate the dynamics of the network configurations realized in scaled environments. The SDN potential essentially allows system admins to tell the network what to do in response to network alterations or dynamic traffic flow patterns. SDN allows users to replace local optimization with a logically centralized intelligence and management of network resources.

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