Software defined networking (SDN), is a networking approach that employs similar mechanisms to those used in hardware Virtualization. SDN involves decoupling the hardware from the software thereby providing a central point through which a network administrator can control traffic. This aspect makes Virtualization possible as network traffic can be controlled without changing the physical network characteristics. Through SDN, connections joining networks are now controlled by software rather than hardware.
SDN takes two approaches. It can be achieved through network programming or network Virtualization. Network programming involves centralizing all network resources such as routers and switches. This will enable easy adjustments as the need arises. Network Virtualization, on the other hand, involves creating a network through a software interface. It provides a platform for applications and network administrators to operate without knowing the physical details of the network.
SDN brings with it many benefits to an organization. These include:
Flexibility and Agility.
SDN provides a network administrator with the ability to respond quickly to changing business requirements through a centralized console. SDN combined with virtual infrastructure provides flexibility for an organization. Costs are saved, and it enables organizations to take advantage of cloud computing.
Efficient utilization of network infrastructure.
Through decoupling of the hardware from the software, SDN creates an abstraction of the network layer from the physical network. This enables it to take advantage of any physical network infrastructure. Optimizations can also be done to ensure the network is fully utilized.
Provides for network interoperability
SDN provides a platform for the flow of data across different networks. Configuring networks across business enterprises can be a challenging task. SND eliminates the need to physically configure these networks and provides an interface to easily program such changes.