What Does Software Defined Networking Actually Mean

What Does Software Defined Networking Actually Mean

Enterprise Networking Mag | Thursday, June 03, 2021

Software-defined networking enhances network connectivity for sales, customer service, internal communications, and information sharing.

FREMONT, CA: Over the past few decades, networks have come under heightened traffic demands, and increased scrutiny as enterprises and consumers increasingly depend on network connectivity for sales, customer service, internal communications, and information sharing. Software-defined networking (SDN), combined with network functions virtualization, is a key technology required to meet these new requirements. SDN is just one piece of the puzzle and offers network operators a new method to design, deploy, and manage network architecture and its services. Here is more about the importance of SDN in the enterprise.

An SDN network can be split into three layers, the application layer, the control layer, and the infrastructure layer. The application resides on top of the SDN network and is leveraged to interact with it, offering services like monitoring, automated fault resolution, and advanced reporting. The control layer is where the network is configured. This configuration is then pushed out to the infrastructure layer where the real networking equipment exists. Traditional networks, by design, show what is known as per-hop behavior. This means that - as traffic is got into each of these devices - it alone decides where to send it, powered by the information it’s received from the rest of the network. 

When accelerating large corporate and particularly hyper-scale cloud providers like Google, AWS, or Microsoft, many devices go from hundreds to thousands. Controlling each of these devices at this scale is extremely complex. Several network engineers and network operators will deploy scripting and management systems. Still, these devices don’t take well to being handled in this way, making automation very complex, unreliable, and expensive.

So, the major benefit of SDN is the removal of the requirement to manage each switch, router, and firewall or access point. Suppose it is needed to introduce a new service, for example. In that case, the new configuration only requires to be completed on the centralized controller, which will then direct the network as per the centralized configuration. This centralized configuration categorizes as a policy.

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