Network Automation with Software Defined Networking

Friday, February 15, 2013

There's significant discussion around Software Defined Networking (SDN). However, according to InformationWeek's SDN survey last summer (July 2012), only 4% of respondents had SDN operating in their production network, while just 21% planned to have it in production within a year.

Seemingly, 2013 and 2014 will be breakout years for SDN planning, and production deployments - from enterprise data centers to service providers, as SDN promises increased flexibility, scalability and deceased OPEX, among other key benefits.

One of the aspects we've been working on is network automation via OpenFlow, a layer two enabling protocol for SDN which allows the path of network packets to be determined at the software layer instead of the hardware layer.

For example, if a service provider would like to assign specific QoS policies for particular traffic across their network, OpenFlow enables us to create detailed policies within the programmable framework of SDN without having to manually configure each device the traffic traverses over the network.

Not only does this save us time, but it decreases the chance for misconfiguration, and allows for further ease-of-modification. While this example represents only one of the many benefits, the below image from the Open Networking Foundation helps illustrate the programmable framework within the SDN architecture:

If you would like to learn more about SDN, or discuss applicable strategies for your network, please feel free to send us an email: