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An Introduction to SDN


Curious about software-defined networking (SDN) but not quite sure what it is? Eli "The Computer Guy" Etherton answers every introductory question you may have in this 25-minute video presentation.

Etherton explains how SDN stands to revolutionize networking in the same way that the cloud revolutionized storage and hosting, and that virtualization revolutionized computing.

After a brief overview of the last few decades of computing and how SDN fits into the big picture, Etherton hits the following points:

  • SDN pulls intelligence away from the hardware itself.
  • SDN is to networking as storage area networks (SANs) were to data storage, and virtualization is to computers.
  • SDN separates networking into four planes: the control plane, the data plane, the services plane, and the management plane.
    • The data plane forwards the data packets and includes the standard networking equipment.
    • The services plane deals with services like the firewall by taking them off of the standard networking equipment and handling them on servers.
    • The control plane controls all of the networking devices on the data plane and manages services on the service plane.
    • The management pane manages all of the other panes.
  • Control protocols are used to communicate between the control pane and the data plane. OpenFlow is an example of a popular open source control protocol.
  • SDN allows for easy network traffic shaping based on need.



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