Already know the basics and don’t need a software-defined networking tutorial? Visit our NFV and SDN for Dummies page to find other great SDN resources.
Software-defined networking (SDN) is still a relatively new model used to design, build, and manage networks. Its expanding adoption within the market has many interested and some still wondering about SDN, so this software-defined networking tutorial aims to educate the SDx community on this exciting technology.
When learning about SDN, remember this one crucial differentiation: In SDNs, the network’s control and forwarding planes are separated, thus preparing the brains (or the control plane) and the muscle (the forwarding plane) for heightened optimization. Despite several options for SDN architectures, the most basic SDN method centralizes network control and moves the control logic to an off-device computer resource.
The next step in this software-defined networking tutorial is to better understand the important components that make up software-defined networks:
- First, the SDN Controller acts as the “brains” of the network. It allows SDN users to gain a central look at the entire network, and empowers network administrators to instruct switches and routers how the forwarding plane should direct network traffic.
- Second, southbound APIs push information to switches and routers below. You may not know it, but you’re probably already familiar with southbound APIs in the form of OpenFlow. Considered the primary SDN standard, OpenFlow is the first southbound API and is a heavily adopted protocol.
- Lastly, northbound APIs push information above to the applications and business logic, giving network administrators the ability to pragmatically shape traffic and launch services.
With the explosive growth of social media, mobile devices, and cloud computing stressing traditional networks, SDN is the innovative answer to antiquated solutions. Both compute and storage services have benefited largely from strides in virtualization and automation, but network limitations make it difficult to capitalize on these advantages. SDN has the power to kickstart legacy data centers by offering flexibility, control, and a direct path to virtualization.
SDN & SD-WAN
Applying SDN to varying network connections across a wide-geographical area is known as software-defined wide-area network (SD-WAN). This extension of SDN has risen in popularity due to its cost-effectiveness, its ability for increasing efficiency among the various branches within an enterprise, and for its unifying the branch office networks across a wide area. SD-WAN’s popularity is tracked to reach a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 69.6%, according to IDC.
To learn more about SDN, its place in the market, and its capabilities, visit our NFV and SDN for Dummies page. There, you’ll find helpful resources like in-depth explanations of SDN tools, services, and products, videos and demos showing SDN at work, and community content that highlights important use cases, encourages debate, and promotes SDN’s continued evolution. Not only will you have the latest SDN information at your fingertips, but the NFV and SDN Dummies page also acts as a great resource for all things NFV, another important technology in the SDx space.