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SDN Software-Defined Network

SDN Software-Defined Network

Software-defined networking (SDN) technology is an approach to network management that enables dynamic, programmatically efficient network configuration in order to improve network performance and monitoring making it more like cloud computing than traditional network management. SDN is meant to address the fact that the static architecture of traditional networks is decentralized and complex while current networks require more flexibility and easy troubleshooting. SDN attempts to centralize network intelligence in one network component by disassociating the forwarding process of network packets (data plane) from the routing process (control plane). The control plane consists of one or more controllers which are considered as the brain of SDN network where the whole intelligence is incorporated. However, the intelligence centralization has its own drawbacks when it comes to security, scalability and elasticity and this is the main issue of SDN.

SDN was commonly associated with the OpenFlow protocol (for remote communication with network plane elements for the purpose of determining the path of network packets across network switches) since the latter's emergence in 2011. However, since 2012 OpenFlow for many companies is no longer an exclusive solution, they added proprietary techniques. These include Cisco Systems' Open Network Environment and Nicira's network virtualization platform.

SD-WAN applies similar technology to a wide area network (WAN). The software-defined wide-area network (SD-WAN or SDWAN) is a specific application of software-defined networking (SDN) technology applied to WAN connections such as broadband internet, 4G, LTE, or MPLS. It connects enterprise networks — including branch offices and data centers — over large geographic distances.

A WAN might be used, for example, to connect branch offices to a central corporate network, or to connect data centers separated by distance. In the past, WAN connections often used technology that required special proprietary hardware. SD-WAN, on the other hand, utilizes the internet or cloud-native private networks. SD-WAN decouples the network from the management plane and detaches the traffic management and monitoring functions from hardware.

WANs allow companies to extend their computer networks over large distances, to connect remote branch offices to data centers and each other, and deliver the applications and services required to perform business functions. When companies extend networks over greater distances and sometimes across multiple carriers' networks, they face operational challenges including network congestion, packet delay variation, packet loss, and even service outages. Modern applications such as VoIP calling, videoconferencing, streaming media, and virtualized applications and desktops require low latency. Bandwidth requirements are also increasing, especially for applications featuring high-definition video. It can be expensive and difficult to expand WAN capability, with corresponding difficulties related to network management and troubleshooting.

SD-WAN products are designed to address these network problems. By enhancing or even replacing traditional branch routers with virtualization appliances that can control application-level policies and offer a network overlay, less expensive consumer-grade Internet links can act more like a dedicated circuit. This simplifies the setup process for branch personnel. SD-WAN products can be physical appliances or virtual appliances, and are placed in small remote and branch offices, larger offices, corporate data centers, and increasingly on cloud platforms.

A centralized controller is used to set policies and prioritize traffic. The SD-WAN takes into account these policies and the availability of network bandwidth to route traffic. This helps ensure that application performance meets service level agreements (SLAs).

Compare of products in the category SDN Software-Defined Network

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Compare: Software-Defined WAN (SD-WAN)

Characteristics

Deployment

Network Connectivity

Zero-touch provisioning

Identification of applications

Network Performance

Cloud Connect

Routing Capabilities

Load balancing modes

Dynamic Path Switching

Packet Duplication

Packet Loss with FEC

Firewall

AES-256 Encryption

WAN Optimization Support

Network segmentation

Content filtering

Purchasing

  • Physical
  • Virtual
  • Physical
  • Virtual
  • Physical
  • Virtual
  • Physical
  • Virtual
  • Physical
  • Virtual
  • Physical
  • Virtual
  • Physical
  • Virtual
  • Physical
  • Virtual
  • Physical
  • Virtual
  • Physical
  • Virtual
  • Physical
  • Virtual
  • Physical
  • Virtual
  • Physical
  • Virtual
  • Physical
  • Virtual
  • MPLS
  • DSL
  • Ethernet
  • Broadband
  • 3G
  • 4G/LTE
  • Satellite
  • MPLS
  • Broadband
  • 4G/LTE
  • Satellite
  • MPLS
  • Broadband
  • DSL
  • 4G/LTE
  • MPLS
  • Broadband
  • DSL
  • 4G/LTE
  • MPLS
  • Broadband
  • 4G/LTE
  • MPLS
  • DSL
  • 4G/LTE
  • MPLS
  • MPLS
  • Broadband
  • MPLS
  • Broadband
  • MPLS
  • Broadband
  • DSL
  • 4G/LTE
  • MPLS
  • Broadband
  • 4G/LTE
  • MPLS
  • Ethernet
  • Broadband
  • 3G
  • 4G/LTE
  • Satellite
  • MPLS
N/A
over 4500
N/A
over 7000
over 3000
over 3000
2200
1400
over 1300
over 10000
N/A
2600
3000
N/A
  • N/A
  • Passive
  • N/A
  • Active
  • Passive
  • Active
  • Passive
  • Active
  • Passive
  • Passive
  • Active
  • Active
  • Passive
  • Passive
  • Active
  • Active
  • N/A
  • N/A
  • AWS
  • Azure
  • Google
  • Services supplied by carriers
  • VMware
  • AWS
  • Azure
  • N/A
  • N/A
  • AWS
  • Azure
  • Blue Jeans
  • Box
  • Cisco
  • Google
  • HP Helion
  • IBM
  • Salesforce
  • Sunguard
  • VMware
  • N/A
  • AWS
  • Azure
  • VMware
  • AWS
  • Azure
  • VMware
  • Services supplied by carriers
  • Services supplied by carriers
  • Services supplied by carriers
  • N/A
  • WAN
  • QoS
  • WAN
  • Application
  • QoS
  • Load Balancing
  • WAN
  • QoS
  • WAN
  • Application
  • QoS
  • Load Balancing
  • Multi-Link VPN
  • N/A
  • QoS
  • WAN
  • Application
  • QoS
  • Traffic Shaping
  • QoS
  • Application
  • QoS
  • WAN
  • Application
  • QoS
  • WAN
  • Application
  • QoS
  • N/A
  • WAN
  • Application
  • QoS
  • Load Balancing
  • N/A
  • N/A
  • Per-flow
  • Per-packet
  • Per-flow
  • Per-packet
  • Round Trip Time
  • Ratio
  • Per-flow
  • Per-flow
  • Per-flow
  • Per-packet
  • Per-flow
  • Per-flow
  • Per-flow
  • Per-packet
  • Per-flow
  • Per-packet
  • Per-flow
  • Per-packet
  • Per-flow
  • Per-packet
  • N/A
N/A
Yes, for VoIP
Yes (VoIP, real-time applications)
N/A
N/A
N/A
Yes, for VoIP
N/A
N/A
N/A
Yes, for VoIP
Yes, UDP applications
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
Yes (dynamic, for VoIP)
N/A
N/A
Yes
N/A
Yes, TCP applications
N/A
N/A
Integrated
Integrated
Integrated
Integrated
Integrated
Integrated
Separate
Integrated
Integrated
Integrated
Separate
Separate
Integrated
Integrated
N/A
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes, 3rd party
Yes
Yes, 3rd party
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes, 3rd party
Yes
Yes
N/A
Yes, VRF-lite at SD-WAN CPE
N/A
Yes
Yes
Yes, VRF at SD-WAN CPE
Yes, VRF at SD-WAN CPE
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes, Proprietary VPN ID in IPsec packet header
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
Yes
Yes
N/A
Partial
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
Yes
Yes
Yes
  • N/A
  • N/A
  • Recurring
  • Upfront
  • N/A
  • N/A
  • N/A
  • Recurring
  • N/A
  • N/A
  • N/A
  • Upfront
  • Recurring
  • N/A
  • N/A
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F.A.Q about SDN Software-Defined Network

Software-defined networking (SDN) is a way to virtualize networks for ease of configuration and maintenance in the same way that servers and storage are being virtualized. The difference is that SDN as a network solution is not nearly as far along as virtualization in the server and storage worlds.

Nevertheless, SDN is coming — and the more IT decision-makers and business leaders know about it, the better they'll be able to determine where and when to introduce it to their data centers.

What is Software-Defined Networking (SDN)?

SDN abstracts and separates the control and data planes of traditional networking to make it more responsive and agile to changing business needs.

In a traditional network, manual configuration and deployment of hardware-based routing and switching can be time-consuming and error-prone. By abstracting the control and data planes, businesses can automate deployment; streamline management; and leverage flexible, elastic networks that enable them to realize operational efficiencies and cost savings.

What challenges does SDN help address?

Workloads are shifting to the cloud, and the corporate network must foster secure access among more devices, people, applications, and data than ever before. It’s no longer practical — or even possible — for most companies’ IT teams to configure and manage such access manually, as required by traditional networks. Doing so is a tedious, error-prone process that — if a mistake is made — can render a network offline, meaning lost business or poor collaboration.

SDN addresses a lack of agility and flexibility that traditional network architectures established over time. By abstracting the network’s routing and switching functions into software, thus reducing the complexity of managing these functions across different vendors, SDN enables today’s enterprises to have flexible networks with streamlined network management.

What is Software-Defined WAN (SD-WAN)?

SD-WAN is about simplifying and automating a network, and replacing manual intervention, amid changing conditions.

Traditionally, there were two main options for Wide-Area Networking (WAN): MPLS or broadband. Companies that needed the utmost in reliable connection between their branch offices and headquarters could easily be well over $1,000 per month for a dedicated MPLS line from each branch office to headquarters. Alternatively, companies could contract with a broadband provider for less expensive and less reliable service.

SD-WAN applies the virtualization, orchestration, and automation inherent in a large SDN deployment to the WAN infrastructure, reducing the effort needed to configure, manage, and apply policies across the WAN.

What is an active-dynamic connection?

Until recently, the benefits of SD-WAN have been reserved for active-active WAN configurations, in which an organization has two or more WAN sources connected and available at all times. When one link fails or deteriorates, traffic is automatically routed over the other link without data loss. This process consumes a lot of data and incurs huge costs when metered WAN links are involved.

What is Software-defined Perimeter (SD-P)?

SD-P technologies provide a simplified and more secure network architecture for connecting M2M/IoT devices and users.

In the past, many organizations utilized an IPsec VPN-based hub-and-spoke network architecture to extend their networks to branch offices and remote workers through broadband. These IPsec VPNs are not only difficult to manage and configure, but they also create frustrations for the end user, requiring frequent reauthentication when a connection fails.

SD-P reverses the authentication approach. It allows companies to deploy an invitation-only Virtual Cloud Network (VCN) across a private IP space, or dark cloud, meaning it cannot be discovered by a hacker. The software-defined network platform initiates contact with any device or end user that needs to join the network, and verifies the device’s identity via an Out-of-Band connection; only after the device or user has been authenticated are they allowed on the network.

Additionally, through SD-P, simple policies enable micro-segmentation to ensure devices and users are connected only to specified people, applications, and resources.