The 5 minute expert on Software-Defined Networking

Software-Defined Networking (SDN) is a new approach to designing, building and managing networks. The basic concept is that SDN separates the network’s control (brains) and forwarding planes (muscles) to make it easier to optimise each. This will allow enterprises that deploy a SDN to shape traffic around the network, to automate the deployment of services, while making intelligent decisions about the network as a whole.

Why deploy SDNs?

Why deploy SDNs

85% of enterprises are in the “researching” phase of SDN’s. ZK Research

Typical components of a SDN

Typical components of SDNs
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SDN Organisations

  • Open Daylight: Bringing together a community of vendors and developers to create a framework for an open source project that will enable a widespread adoption of SDN.
  • ONF: A user-driven organisation dedicated to the promotion and adoption of SDN through open standards development. OpenFlow is one of the standards that has originated from the ONF.
  • SDN Central: SDN Central offers a unique perspective on the market, early access to use cases, and opportunities to speak with thought leaders looking to build new solutions and solve complex networking problems.

SDN on the rise

SDN opportunities

% of network spend

percentage of budget spent on SDN
225+ companies developing SDN solutions, up from none in 2009. SDN Central

Extreme Networks SDN – combining the "best of both worlds"

As the momentum of Software Defined Networking continues to grow, we start to see competing vendors taking up two different approaches. On one hand we have the Open Standards based approach, which typically revolves around the OpenFlow standard being enabled within the platforms. This approach has the benefit of being applicable to a multivendor network but requires the SDN to have OpenFlow enabled switches and routers. Therefore this lends itself well to a Greenfield OpenFlow enabled multi-vendor network, but can be more challenging to deploy in an evolving network.
The other approach we see is a proprietary approach where the controller and platforms tend to be communicating via a proprietary protocol, and the northbound API is an open but vendor led protocol. This tends to encourage “vendor lock in” but can result in innovative application development.

Extreme Networks have embraced the qualities of both worlds using an open, standards based element blended with a vendor specific API. The OpenDaylight controller is the central component that speaks both OpenFlow for multi-vendor operation, and a vendor specific API that allows existing Extreme customers to evolve their network.
A unique aspect of the Extreme Controller is that also embeds Network Management, NAC, Analytic and Wireless Controller. This allows the controller to extend the benefits of SDN beyond the basic functions offered by other vendors.
Extreme Networks have also included their own industry leading EXOS and OneFabric Connect within their SDN. This provides customers with further choice as to whether they develop their own applications or take advantage of an SDN development community. You can read more about it on this PDF by Extreme Networks.

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