SDN Revamps Network Agility And Automation

By CIOReview | Tuesday, December 15, 2015

FREMONT, CA: Software-Defined Networking (SDN) is a term encompassing several kinds of network technology aimed at making the network as agile and flexible.  The goal of SDN is to allow network engineers and administrators to respond quickly to changing business requirements. SDN products enable dramatic improvements in network agility and automation, while substantially reducing the cost of network operations.

Cloud computing applications could be a big beneficiary of SDN and OpenFlow because these technologies make provisioning in a multi-vendor virtual environment much simpler. A controller-based load balancing application could automate the movement of workloads among virtual machines by using the controller's library of data pertaining to the capacity of individual network devices.  Virtualized network service appliances are deployed on virtual machines. Controller-based applications are more scalable, flexible, efficient and manageable than conventional models that rely on physical devices to support functions.

The rise in software-centric networking transforms the process of innovation from equipment vendors to developer communities; thus simplifying the process. To accomplish this, developers and users will have to ensure that software-defined networking standards are truly open and interoperable. A number of challenges including cost, performance, service availability, management, and security must be confronted along the way. Addressing security vulnerabilities is among the highest priorities for network operators. The key steps involved in an SDN migration are, identifying and prioritizing core requirements of the target network, preparing the initial network for migration, and implementing a phased network migration. Once migration is completed, the target network must be validated against a documented set of requirements or expectations.

Application security in SDN offers a number of specific benefits that can improve enterprise security. SDN simplifies network usage information, which supports improved algorithm design used to detect attacks. The new generation of applications takes advantage of better-informed SDN agents to improve policy enforcement and traffic anomaly detection and mitigation. These applications block malicious intruders before they enter the critical regions of the network.