Currently, we’re facing serious challenges in IT, meeting current requirements is virtually impossible now with today’s traditional network architectures and technologies. Faced with tight budgets, and a fast-evolving computing environment enterprise IT departments are seeking new ways to address the issues, trying to squeeze the most from their networks using device-level management tools and processes.

Traditional network technologies and architectures were simply not designed to meet the requirements of today’s fast-evolving computing environment.

Today’s networks are getting too complex and difficult to manage, networking equipment runs complex software that is typically closed and proprietary. It’s have become a major barrier to creating new, innovative applications, and even to the continued growth of the Internet. The root cause of the problem is that it is built using switches, routers, and traditional architectures that have become exceedingly complex and too difficult to manage. 

IT administrators configure individual network equipment using configuration that varies across vendors, this type of operation has just slowed innovation in IT and increased complexity, and worst of all it inflated the operational cost of running a network. It’s a tough fight for the IT industry.

That’s where SDN comes in. Enter SDN, a new paradigm of networking, and the next big thing in networking. It addresses key technical issues that traditional networks can’t do.

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What is Software Defined Networking?

SDN stands for Software-Defined Networking, is an emerging networking architecture that is dynamic, manageable, cost-effective, adaptable, and suitable for today’s high-bandwidth applications. SDN decouples the network control and forwarding functions and moves “more intelligence” in the network- from switches and routers to a software-based controller.

SDN makes networks programmable by ordinary programmers using ordinary software running on ordinary operating systems in ordinary servers. It’s a new kind of approach to networking in which control is decoupled from hardware and given to a software application called a controller, through this network controller, an administrator can quickly and easily make decisions, and handle network traffic more effectively.

The History

SDN is a part of a long history of IT efforts to make networks more efficient and programmable, SDN was born with work done in 2003 by Bob Burke and Zac Carman developing the Content Delivery Control Network patent application. In their Patent, SDN was described as a collection of network-embedded computing techniques used to control the operation of Network Elements, with the objective being to safeguard the content from theft (P2P) or unwanted interception and to efficiently deliver content. Then in 2008 SDN was moved ahead in work done at UC Berkeley and Stanford University.

Over the past few years, SDN has grown faster and gained significant traction in the industry, Open Networking Foundation was founded in 2011 to promote both SDN and OpenFlow. And many of today’s biggest IT companies (cloud providers, networking vendors, and carriers) have joined and backed SDN industry consortia like Open Networking Foundation and OpenFlow.

What makes SDN so big and important?

SDN has the potential to change everything; it’s a new way of networking in software. It promises to make high-capacity networks cheaper to build, configure, manage, operate and secure because instructions are provided by SDN controllers instead of multiple, expensive, vendor-specific devices and networking protocols.

SDN reduces both capital and operating expenses by simplifying and automating network management, letting administrators manage one control plane instead of one in every network element- avoiding over-provisioning and human error. SDN also reduces the need for expensive, purpose-built, complex networking hardware; instead, it lets companies acquire much simpler and less expensive networking equipment. 

In addition, it makes it simpler to optimize application performance by automating networking provisioning and configuration. It also makes load balancing, virtualization, and cloud deployments much simpler and faster. As the technology is implemented, we will see networks that are more dynamic, flexible, easier to manage, and best of all provide us much greater visibility of the network.

Introduction to SDN (Software-defined Networking)

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