SDN - Software Defined Networking

Software-Defined Networking (SDN) is an emerging communication architecture that needs to be considered as one of the possible solutions for PAC systems applications. As usual in the process of evaluation we need to understand what it is, where we can use it and what are the benefits and challenges.

The main characteristic of SDN is the fact that it decouples the network control and forwarding functions enabling the network control to become directly programmable and the underlying infrastructure to be abstracted for applications and network services. It is directly programmable and allows administrators to dynamically adjust network-wide traffic flow to meet changing needs, using automated SDN programs. The network intelligence is (logically) centralized in software-based SDN controllers that maintain a global view of the network, which appears as a single, logical switch.

The Open Networking Foundation (ONF) is a user-driven organization dedicated to the promotion and adoption of SDN through open standards development. Its main accomplishment is the introduction of the OpenFlow® Standard, which enables remote programming of the forwarding plane and is a vital element of an open software-defined network architecture.
As with any new technology, SDN is evolving in a number of different directions, with solutions that combine adherence to established SDN standards (such as OpenFlow) with proprietary technology. Today, SDN is used principally in the uniform, massively scalable data centers of Yahoo, Facebook, and cloud infrastructure providers built from the ground up for standardization, virtualization and massive scalability.

SDN is applied in three principal flavors: classic, hybrid, and overlay. The Classic model is based on SDN-aware applications that can optimize services and receive network intelligence via OpenFlow. The Hybrid model combines classic SDN and vendor-proprietary management protocols, while the Overlay model implements virtual networks and policies on top of the physical network, typically via software switches running in virtual machines on a hypervisor.


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