Software Defined Networking

Software defined networking (SDN) is a welcome response to the complexities of virtualization in today’s data centers. SDN took a few years to get from an academic concept to an internal innovation for web-scale deployments to a meaningful solution to the enterprise. The time for SDN is now. The way forward is not without its difficulties, however.

Let’s quickly explain SDN: SDN takes the layers of network control that are traditionally fixed in hardware or network rules and allows administrative control. Instead of relying on the logic of the switch and router, the administrator can force network routes and even set rules that will dynamically change them.

In the data center of twenty years ago, when a single physical computer had a single network connection to a single network, this capability would not have been very meaningful. In today’s world, where networks are spread across multiple geos and multiple virtual compute resources share a complex pool of MAC addresses, the capability to give the network a little (or a lot) of direction decreases overall traffic and speeds up performance.

The result is smarter deployments and better scaling. SDN, along with the sister capabilities of network function virtualization (NFV) and SD-WAN, can overcome many of the issues that prevent the enterprise from adopting hybrid cloud or other cloud solutions.

Some Applications of SDN

For the Enterprise, SDN helps to:

  1. Enable high performance network services
  2. Operate multipath traffic efficiently
  3. Perform data center (as well as data center to cloud) bridging
  4. Bridge layer 2 networks
  5. Eliminate “hair pinning” in which one virtual machine has to route through a hardware switch to reach a neighbor virtual machine.

Implementing SDN Correctly

Vendor releases of SDN can offer any or all of these capabilities, but be careful; this protocol will become mainline operation for your entire business. If the IT department does not have visibility into the implementation, the future holds unknown headaches.

The Open Data Center Alliance and SDN

ODCA sees the potential of SDN and continues to analyze implementations. As with any emerging technology, implementations vary. Different vendors offer different features. More significant for ODCA members, they have different interoperability features.

To help member companies deploy SDN that gives them the capability, control, and future flexibility over their network, ODCA has been developing usage models for SDN since 2012. An ODCA usage model provides the parameters for evaluating a proposed implementation. By implementing a usage model when writing a request for proposal (RFP) or communicating with a vendor, an enterprise can identify the capabilities they seek and make sure they are implemented.

Read more about our current SDN usage model.

It is important to note that there are open source SDN implementations, including Open Daylight. While appreciative of open source implementations, ODCA’s focus is on interoperability, no matter whether the product is open source or not. For more information, read How We Define the Open Cloud.

Join the ODCA,  Shape Future of Software Defined Networking

Both IT professionals and solution providers can enjoy the benefits of ODCA membership. Learn how you can shape the direction of the open data center.

Attend Forecast2016, June 28-29 in Seattle, Washington

The Open Data Center Alliance welcomes you to join our members at Forecast2016™ in Seattle, Washington. This conference brings together a global community of professionals invested in unlocking the power of cloud computing. Attendees get world-class content, workshops, practical tools and networking focused on accelerating delivery of value from cloud investments. Register today.

Learn best-practices to adopt and worst-practices to avoid from those who have paved the way. With the combination of visionary keynote presentations, case studies, panel sessions and interactive workshops, conference participants can return to their jobs with actionable strategies and roadmaps based on tested, operational successes from leading enterprise IT organizations.

Topics address emerging challenges and opportunities facing enterprises around cloud deployments, including:

  • Managing Hybrid Cloud
  • DevOps: Enabling Cloud
  • IoT
  • Accelerating Speed to Value with Cloud Investments
  • Applying the ODCA’s Cloud Maturity Model