Enabling the Vision of Software-Defined Networking
Networking, like compute and storage before it, is undergoing a virtualization transformation. The transformation is being driven by two fundamental shifts: software-defined networking (SDN) and network function virtualization (NFV).
As the technology and market mature, enterprises are moving toward discrete use case–based control and data plane separation. This is happening separately in data center LAN, enterprise LAN, wireless and WAN connectivity.
Software-Defined Networking (SDN) separates the control of the network from the flow of data through the network, and provides the means to configure network flows of the data plane with APIs. NFV is more of a direct virtualization of network function. It replaces physical equipment, such as routers, switches and firewalls, with virtual components implemented in software as virtual network functions (VNFs).
Where the goal of NFV is to virtualize or abstract function away from the hardware, the goal of SDN is to create programmatic control of the network path for managed and optimized delivery of applications. These two shifts are not entirely separate activities, but the key requirements for automation of the network are more profound in the SDN transformation.
This paper takes a look at the technology landscape in the data center and provides key points on SDN and recommends the best time to implement.