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What is SDN? Some Benefits Of Software Defined Networking

What is SDN?

Currently we’re facing serious challenges in IT, meeting current requirements is virtually impossible now with today’s traditional network architectures and technologies. Faced with tight budgets, fast-evolving computing environment enterprise IT departments are seeking new ways to address the issues, trying to squeeze the most from their networks using device-level management tools and processes. Traditional network technologies and architectures were simply not designed to meet the requirements of today's fast-evolving computing environment.

Today’s networks are getting too complex and difficult to manage, networking equipments run complex software that is typically close and proprietary. It’s have become a major barrier to creating new, innovative and applications, and an even to the continued growth of the Internet. The root cause of problem is that it is built using switches, routers, and traditional architectures that have become exceedingly complex and too difficult to manage. IT administrators configure individual network equipments using configuration that vary across vendors, this type of operation has just slowed innovation in IT and increased complexity, worst of all its inflated the operational cost of running a network. It’s a tough fight for the IT industry.

That’s where SDN comes in. Enter SDN, a new paradigm of networking and the next big thing in networking. It addresses key technical issues that traditional networks can’t do.

What Is Software Defined Networking?

SDN stands for Software-Defined Networking, is an emerging networking architecture that is dynamic, manageable, cost-effective, adaptable and suitable for today’s high-bandwidth applications. SDN decouple network control and forwarding functions, move “more intelligence” in the network - from switches and routers to a software–based controllers.

SDN makes networks programmable by ordinary programmers using ordinary software running on ordinary operating systems in ordinary servers. It’s a new kind of approach to networking in which control is decoupled from hardware and given to a software application called a controller, through this network controller, an administrator can quickly and easily make decisions, and handle network traffic more effectively.

The History

SDN is a part of a long history of IT efforts to make networks more efficient and programmable, SDN was born with work done in 2003 by Bob Burke and Zac Carman developing the Content Delivery Control Network patent application. In their Patent, SDN was described as a collection of network embedded computing techniques used to control the operation of Network Elements, with the objective being to safeguard content from theft (P2P) or unwanted interception and to efficiently deliver content. Then in 2008 SDN was moved ahead in work done at UC Berkeley and Stanford University.

Over the past few years, SDN has grown faster and gained significant traction in the industry, Open Networking Foundation was founded in 2011 to promote both SDN and OpenFlow. And many of today’s biggest IT companies (cloud providers, networking vendors and carriers) have joined and backed SDN industry consortia like Open Networking Foundation and OpenFlow.

What makes SDN so big and important

SDN has the potential to change everything; it’s a new way of networking in software. It promises to make high-capacity networks cheaper to build, configure, manage, operate and secure because instructions are provided by SDN controllers instead of multiple, expensive, vendor-specific devices and networking protocols.

SDN reduces both capital and operating expense by simplify and automating network management, letting administrator manage one control planes instead of one in every network element- avoiding over provisioning and human error. SDN also reduces the need for expensive, purpose-built, complex networking hardware; instead it let companies acquire much simpler and less expensive networking equipments. In addition, it makes it simpler to optimize application performance by automating networking provisioning and configuration. It also makes load balancing, virtualization, and cloud deployments much simpler and faster. As the technology is implemented, we will see networks that are more dynamic, flexible and easier to manage, and best of all provide us much greater visibility of the network.

Some Benefits Of Software Defined Networking (SDN)

  1. Reduce Capital Expenses
  2. Reduce Operational Expenses
  3. Greater Agility and Flexibility
  4. Enable Innovation and new Type of Applications
  5. Better Security
  6. Better Quality of Services
  7. Provides an Open, standard- based computing environment and avoid vendor lock-in.

SDN Market

For major IT companies hoping to become big in the ongoing cloud race and networking battle, SDN has become a key part of equation. The word “SDN” reached buzzword status a few years ago when cloud infrastructure giant VMware acquired Nicira, a startup known for its software defined networking technology in a massive deal pegged at $1.26 billion - it’s VMware’s largest acquisition to date. The massive acquisition reflects just how serious VMware is about the evolving SDN market, it’s marked the start of a new network revolution.

Nicira is a privately held company that has been launched a few five years ago and has jut raised $50 million along the way from venture capital firms Andreessen Horowitz. It played a huge role in bringing open networking to the cloud, and probably the hottest name in the world of SDN. Nicira created OpenFlow and helped to introduce the SDN market.

Nicira and VMware are not the only big names that going to disrupt corporate networks and making big in the world of SDN. Big tech companies like Oracle and HP are also making a huge presence in the market. Oracle acquired SDN startup Xsigo Systems, to boost its presence in the cloud computing race. Xsigo’ technology is broadly similar to Nicira’s offering. The acquisition of Xsigo by database giant Oracle clearly illustrates the need for SDN in cloud computing environment.

Hardware stalwart Hewlett-Packard is also making similar things; it has been involved in SDN standards from the start, working closely with the folks of Stanford and Berkeley since 2007. And it’s a key player of SDN OpenFlow development.

The Future

SDN is making some significant advances, recent reports estimates that the business impact tied to SDN could hit as high as $35 billion by the year 2018.

SDN has become a key trend in networking space and it’s promising to cure all that ails today’s corporate network, it’s actually where the industry is going. SDN isn’t just a big technology play; it represents a major transformation of an entire industry - something disrupting.

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