In a world of increasing acronyms and constant predictions, it’s easy to become skeptical about the latest technology. That’s how many felt about Software-Defined Networking (SDN) just a few years ago. The tide, of course, turned when industries realized how SDN can reduce costs and boost revenue streams. And even though SDN is being deployed in data centers and enterprises around the world, the cream is still rising to the top. IDC predicts the SDN market will grow at a 25.4% annual growth rate, reaching $13.8 billion by 2021
But many, even industry veterans, still aren’t sure what SDN exactly is and the value it provides. One of the best – and easiest to explain – definitions is here – SDN is “the physical separation of the network control plane from the forwarding plane, and where a control plane controls several devices.” The impressive benefits of SDN include increased agility, easier central management of the network, and the ability for managers to configure, secure, and optimize resources themselves.
As SDN offers more flexibility, it may also change the very of nature of networks: how they’re designed, how they’re implemented, and how they’re managed. Keep in mind that many SDN- based Network Virtualization designs that require a SDN validation strategy include Underlay Networks, Overlay Networks, and Integrated Overlay Underlay Networks.
The SDN Validation Approach includes these two main approaches:
The Vertical Layer approach covers:
– Network Applications – Onboarding, topology, services and deployment.
– Network Infrastructure – OF Protocol Conformance, SDN Controller Functionality, South Bound and North Bound API Tests, Scale and performance, Interop.
– Security – Secure Control Channel, NBI Authorization/Authentication and SDN Controller security.
The Horizontal layer Approach covers:
– Data Plane Tests – validate the throughput, latency, scalability and other parameters like flow latency, TCP flows between hosts, UDP parallel sessions, etc.
– Control Plane Tests – validate & measure the SDN Controller, CPU utilization, response time and flow drop rates through traffic injection. Here the SDN Controller is connected to several virtual data plane elements.
– Management plane Tests – onboarding time for REST API, GUI based provisioning, CLI based provisioning and stress tests on management plane processing.
There is no longer a question if SDN is a viable approach to networking. The only mystery remaining is how quicky it will be accepted as a standard among service providers and enterprises as we creep deeper into the 21st century. Accordingly, if you haven’t done so already, it’s time to plan your SDN rollout. You will centralize and simplify control of enterprise network management, improve traffic programmability, gain greater agility, improve the ability to create policy driven network supervision, and implement network automation.
If you’re still hesitating, remember that beyond all of SDN’s specific technical advantages, its greatest benefit is that it allows you to keep up with the speed of change. As you know, you can’t adapt to new market demands if you don’t have the right tools. Don’t get left behind. We suggest that you start planning your SDN implementation. The sooner the better.