SDN: Transforming Networking Architecture
SDN is about to transform networking architecture. But there are multiple definitions of Software Defined Networking. SDN assets that the control and data planes are decoupled, network intelligence and state are logically centralized, and the underlying network infrastructure is abstracted from the applications.
As a result, applications that comprise the operational systems and network services that enterprises and carriers use in their neworks may gain unprecedented programmability, automation, and network control.
This new paradigm enables enterprises and carriers to build highly scalable, flexible networks that readily adapt to changing business needs, accelerate service development and deployment, and offer the potential for reducing operational expenditures.
The most common SDN definition is based upon splitting the data plane or the forwarding hardware of an Ethernet switch from its control plane or the logic that controls how packets flow from ingress to egress.
However it is felt that this definition alone is too limited and needs to be expanded. Network operators worldwide are feeling the need to increase the pace at which they are able to deploy new services as well as improve their ability to manage existing networks. In this context, SDN appears as an opportunity to not be limited by existing design practices and define new approaches.
Network Virtualization The other area closely tied to SDN is network virtualization. From the "traditional" models of virtualized networks like VLANs, VRFs, etc. the discussion has turned towards carving out slices of networks along with services on top of these slices. Data center network design has been a topic of research interest for several years.
The technology to virtualize networks has lagged behind the virtualization of computation and storage. Server virtualization has revolutionized the business of IT and enabled the success of cloud computing, but the network has been the bottleneck in the virtualized data center.
This has led to considerable inefficiency in the use of data center resources and a mismatch between the operational models of computation and networking.
SDN consititutes today a response to this challenge.
• What are the key architectural choices and burning issues with SDN ?
• Will SDN drive the era of commodity network hardware and what does it mean for the carriers?
• What is Software Defined Data Center and how will it impact the network hardware?
• What are the service strategies of Internet and Cloud providers ?
• What is the role of overlays and VPNs in SDN and network virtualization?
• What is the role of APIs in SDNs? What level of abstraction do these APIs need to provide? • Is SDN the only solution for automation ? Or are there other valid architectural approaches to achieve the same benefits in terms of agility and operational efficiencies ?
• Is OpenFlow an integral part of SDN ? Or just one of many possible choices ?
• What are the issues with respect to application deployment in the context of SDNs? What kind of intelligence is required from the network?
• What kind of management tools are required in the context of SDN?
During the second edition of the SDN Summit, to be held in Paris from 21 to 22 March, 2013, key experts in this field will confront practical implementations with conceptual views.
More information at: SDN Summit 2013