A New Revolution Called SDN

Posted on September 30, 2015

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We are in the midst of a ne revolution.  Revolutions are about delivering impactful change, change that is necessary in order to bring about the substantive attainments that the masses demand.  It seems that a major revolution comes to fruition within the IT and communications industry once a decade.  In the 90s it was the transition from wired to wireless.  This released users from the imprisonment of their office cubicle and allowed them the ability to access their device regardless of space and time.  The following decade brought the dramatic revolution of transforming private networks into IP enabled networks that accessed the Internet.  This conversion immediately brought forth VoIP and the birth of the cloud, allowing users to access their data and services, uninhibited by time and space.  All of this makes the next revolution inevitable – transforming hardware to software.

Datacenters are exploding, servicing ever expanding enterprises, impelled by masses of users and customers alike that are demanding faster turnarounds and delivery intervals within their respective organizations.    The former wireless and IP network revolutions vastly increased the agility of users to operate, but their true potential continues to be restricted by the remaining bottleneck, the network itself.   The network is that critical component of every enterprise organization.  It is the life blood of every private and public cloud and for the most part it has been defined by complex and rigid proprietary methodologies.  Networks are defined by protocols that have a fixed way of doing operating.  It is these limitations that make the network a barrier to creating new, innovative services.  It is these traditional networking approaches that prevent organizations from keeping pace with the pace of business today.

This revolution has a name, SDN, or software defined networks.  It is an architecture based around three layers.  The key layer is the control plane that manages the interactions between the application layer where the key services delivered by the cloud are located, to the network infrastructure, also known as the data plane.  It is the control plane where intelligence resides that governs the network, ensuring that the network responds to the continual fluctuating demands of users.  It is this control plane that defines the SDN revolution.

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