SDN – Bringing flexibility and scale to Data Center

Today’s growing businesses need instant application deployments and deliveries at a much higher speed. While it is a major challenge for IT administrators, Software Defined Networking (SDN) has helped organizations to achieve this goal with the help of automation tools. SDN helps businesses to achieve flexibility and scalability with the platform that can efficiently handle the demanding network needs of present and future growth. SDN has made deployments of applications and business servers more speedy and agile. Cloud architectures are able to deliver automated, on demand application delivery and mobility on a scale required by SDN. SDN helps enhance the benefits of Data Center virtualization by increasing resource utilization and flexibility, thus reducing the overhead and infrastructure costs. SDN has a great contribution in converging management network and applications into an extensible and centralized orchestration platform, that can perform automation tasks of provisioning and configuring the entire infrastructure. This assists businesses in building a modern infrastructure, that can fulfil the demand of delivering new applications and services at a much faster pace than possible now.

With the legacy architectures and operating models, current Data Centers are finding it difficult to scale as per the required demands of today’s bandwidth hungry mobile data applications and consequent huge increase in traffic volume. Disaggregated virtual Data Centers and the multi-tenancy trend is creating further challenge in application deployments, delivery and provisioning. Operators need more capacity with the flexibility to allocate resources dynamically – to when and where they are needed most. Current demands need enhanced efficiency and networks that can dynamically adapt to the surroundings. The new SDN technology is the perfect solution for these problems. SDN by abstracting network elements, creates an open environment where network resources can be orchestrated to provide a fast, open, scalable and flexible network that is simple to manage. SDN solutions increase network efficiency by taking transformations from Application Layer and using that data to control network with increased application responsiveness.

SDN allows network administrators to have programmable, centralized control over the network traffic, without having actual access to physical network devices. It separates the control plane from the data plane and thus allowing external control of the network. Separation of the control plane and the data plane allows top level decisions to be made from management device with the knowledge of network, without having device centric configurations. By separating the control plane from the data plane, SDN makes the network, programmable and uses SDN controller to program switches, using industry standard protocol like OpenFlow.

Network orchestration and virtualization are the key to SDN that helps achieve flexibility. The most important goal of SDN is to implement flexible networks that can be provisioned dynamically. Network orchestration, network programmability, network virtualization and centralized control are the major factors that define SDN.

SDN and Network Orchestration

SDN is basically a mesh of technologies to control network hardware. Network devices have network operating systems which manage the internal device operations. SDN needs network operating systems to offer API that allows external software to configure the device. SDN applications use a network controller as a gateway, in order to access APIs on the devices. OpenDaylight is the most popular and widely available gateway. The consumption of the APIs offered by devices, enable the offering of end-to-end configuration services across many network devices. Orchestration can be described as the use of automation to provide services, by using applications that drive the network. Orchestration is the most important factor in Software defined network.

SDN and Network Virtualization:

IT operators are finding that network performance could be a bottleneck to deliver speed, agility and bandwidth that is required for today’s modern application. SDN and Network virtualization, along with other solutions like 10Gigabit Ethernet and Ethernet fabrics, are amongst the technologies that can efficiently address the problem of network performance and provide agility. Data Centers are required to handle more data and transactions resulting in network growth and expansions, which add significant complexity in IT provisioning and management. Network virtualization and SDN provide a solution to network architectures that they can use to design models that efficiently cater to demands of the business critical applications.

Implementing Network virtualization with SDN, IT operators can add flexibility and scalability to current network management. SDN based network virtualization decouples virtual network from the physical network. Today businesses demand quick virtual network deployments with diverse requirements and need most of the network functions to be automated. There are numerous ways network virtualization can be defined in SDN.

How SDN provide network flexibility and Scale?

Software defined networks provide flexibility to configure, secure, manage and optimize network resources using automated SDN programs. APIs offered by network systems of devices, facilitate the implementation of common network services such as routing, security, access control, multicast, bandwidth management, storage optimization, energy usage and allows policy managements. SDN provides much flexibility that allows network programming and management at a scale which traditional networks failed to provide. SDN, by decoupling Control and Data planes result in advantages such as high flexibility, programmability and a centralized network view. SDN is considered to be a solution to provide a flexible and scalable architecture. SDN offers higher opportunity for programmability, network control, automation and thus allows network operators to build highly scalable and flexible network, that quickly adaptable to changing business needs. It provides flexibility with new network capability and services that does not require to configure individual devices or does not need to wait for vendor releases. Centralized control and management of network devices improve automation and management. Centralized and automated management of network devices result in fewer configuration errors and increased network reliability and security.

SDN is the solution for future networks to become significantly intelligent, scalable and flexible. With the help of SDN, network virtualization and network orchestration, it offers network architects an opportunity to provide a truly innovative, flexible and scalable network solution, that will be more efficient and cost effective.

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