I was commissioned by GigaOmPro to write a report on “SDN Challenges in Large Scale Deployments”. I spoke with a number of network and virtualization engineers about their perspectives on SDN, the challenges they faced and how they would use Software Defined Networking in their data centres. It was evident during the research phase is that many people are not clear on what Overlay Networking is and just how deeply Overlay Networking will change Data Centre architecture and especially the nature of the networking and security domains.
This paper is written to provide a grounding on Overlay Networking technology and expose the nature of virtual switching combined with controller-driven overlay networking. In my view, products like Juniper V Contrail will have enormous impact on how network architectures and operational processes. And the transition will start in 2014 because the limitations of the currents systems.
Customers want mobility, rapid change, and larger networks that work with less hassle through the use of powerful automation because this enables business to build speed in innovation. Software-defined networking (SDN) embraces these requirements with new dynamic networking features that enhance server value and user services while operating with an existing network.
Virtualization arrived in networking more than a decade ago in the form of virtual local area networks (VLAN). In the early 2000s, multiprotocol label switching (MPLS) network virtualization enabled vast global networks in the wide area network (WAN). Then, in the mid-2000s, device virtualization arrived and delivered virtual firewalls. Throughout this period of change, the network edge remained located at a fixed physical point with simple, static services.
Server virtualization enables data center mobility, while Wi-Fi and LTE networks enable user mobility. Yet our current network technology remains focused on fixed endpoints. The tension is leading to a change that adapts old requirements for static and stable connections to dynamic and variable forwarding methods. Today’s network is built from hundreds of individual devices that act like separate elements instead of a single platform.
So is SDN the best of everything? In examining that question, this report will also address questions including:
- What are the major technology enablers for SDN?
- How are carriers and enterprises implementing SDN to enable distributed applications and cloud infrastructures?
- How can customers prepare for SDN given that the technology and marketplace are rapidly evolving?
- What are the key industry standards efforts (IETF, ONF, NFV, etc.), and how do they differ?
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