This is the third in a series of thirteen blogs that are designed to help IT organizations on their path to Software Defined Networking (SDN) adoption. This blog will focus on OpenFlow and the role of both the Open Networking Foundation (ONF) and other key standards groups.
The way that OpenFlow works is that when a packet arrives at an OpenFlow switch the header fields are compared to the table entries. If a match in the table entries is found, the packet is either forwarded to the specified port or ports or dropped. If a match isn’t found, the packet is sent to the controller. The controller informs the switch how the packet is to be processed and to create a new flow entry. One of the primary advantages of OpenFlow is that it is an industry standard and it has broad support.
The ONF is an industry consortium that was founded in 2011 by Deutsche Telekom, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Verizon and Yahoo! It currently has roughly 90 members and has the goal of transforming networking through the development and standardization of SDN.
While the ONF is the group that is most closely associated with the standardization of SDN, it is not the only group working on SDN standards. Some of the other standards activities include the IETF, who are working on how an orchestration engine can interact with the control plane of switches and routers. ETSI is working on a standards based approach to network function virtualization and the ITU is developing a framework for how SDN can meet high level objectives and design goals of future networks.
In my next blog I will discuss the changing nature of networking in general and of the networking function in particular.
For more info, please take a look at this “OpenFlow Protocol Primer.”
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