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When you search online for a topic or subject, you type in a few keywords or phrases and hit enter. Right away you have your results. The latest information answered your questions or gave you the exact details you were searching.

However, there are rare instances when you are searching for specific information you recently heard about, like a technical matter, and you find the material is challenging to locate, or when you do discover it, it’s hard to understand. Or it is written for a specific reader in mind like a technician or a student studying the topic.

Take for example Software Defined Networking. Unless you are in the IT and MSP industry, you may not have heard that phrase. When you do an online search SDN for beginners, tutorials, or easy steps you will get results like these:

  • SDN 101: Software-defined networking explained in 10 easy steps
  • Software Defined Networking for Beginners
  • Software-Defined Networking Tutorial – The Basics

To the casual viewer who’s heard the buzz about Software Defined Networking, but does not know what SDN is, what it does, or what it means, you have struck gold. These are good quick reads, but unless you understand basic network terminology or the industry’s “Tech Talk,” you might lose interest, click-away and never know.

So, we’ve put together five non-technical guidelines, for you to review SDN, and come away with unique insight. Opening the door and giving you a look inside at how this exciting network advancement has changed modern technology forever. Once you’ve finished reading, you will have a glimpse, into an industry only a few know about, or are allowed to enter, but you will be ready to take the next step and continue the discussion with the Software Defined Networking professionals at LA Networks.

Guideline #1 – Technology Will Always Change

If you’ve lived long enough, you see changes going on all around you. The cars we use to drive, the neighborhoods we grew up in, and the technologies we no longer need. For example, cars use to require a key to open the vehicle and start it. Now we push a button, and the door unlocks. Push another button, and the car starts.

Did You Know – 1933 the first text messaging (Telex) network came online?

Since then, all of us have moved away from that technology. Today’s text messaging device fits in the palm of your hand. We no longer use cumbersome teleprinters that used telephone lines and telephone routers to send a simple message. This very moment you can reach into your pocket, pull out your mobile phone, tap on your messaging app, pound out some text, snap a picture and then hit send. The changes text messaging has seen since the beginning is fascinating and very similar to the traditional network changes of today.

Guideline #2 – Traditional Networks Are Rigid And Do Not Like Change

A traditional network is made up of connected hardware parts; using routers, switches, wires, optical cables and firewalls. These different pieces assembled make up your network’s single system, how it operates and is called a Platform. Each piece relying heavily on each other but with one major drawback.

Bolted together they depend on each other. Remove one piece and fasten together a new part can cause failures in the system and it will go down. By keeping all the parts together, as they were initially set up, does prevent new features, upgrading to new services, or change.

Guideline #3 – Software Defined Networks Are Flexible And Invite Change

Software Defined Networking is technology’s solution for staying rigid. With the new answer came change and vast amounts of flexibility. Instead of networks welded together, SDN’s unique platform allows you to tailor a way to outline, control and operate your entire system. When we want to change a piece, we unclip it, remove the old section and pop in the new upgrade and then snap it back together. Zero downtime.

Guideline #4 – Changing of the Guard

Up in Guideline #2, we mentioned routers and switches that are parts of a traditional network. Inside them are permanently programmed software known as Firmware. Now inside that network device, there are three levels or planes of operation happening all at once, and they are named:

  • Management Plane – This manages what a user, you or I input, and other administrative tasks. It also receives data from the Control Plane.
  • Control Plane – It gives instructions to the Data Plane, runs routing and switching protocols and gives operational data back to the Management Plane. Also, Control Planes talk to other Controls Planes on other devices in the network.
  • Data Plane – Moves packets and based on the instructions coming down from the Control Plane it decides the output port.

FYI – A Packet is a block of data transmitted or sent across a network.

In the Software Defined Network, it uses a powerful tool called: Controller-Based Networking. The CBN is a centralized controller and can see the whole network from one end to the other. It knows all network paths and the capabilities of every device, and it all sits in one application. It reacts faster, can switch a path’s directions and can determine a route based on a source and destination address.

So, what just happened? SDN has separated the Control Plane from depending on the Data Plane. The CP function now reassigned to software. The network administrator more flexibility. The network admin, from a single location, can regulate the network’s data transfer and enable network automation.

Guideline #5 – Complete SDN Administrator Control At Their Fingertips

Software Defined Networking has brought about change, speed, and flexibility old networks cannot do. Administrators and network engineers now control the system and can respond quickly. SDN though it covers multiple types of network technologies, it has made the network nimble, faster and flexible.

Now that you have reviewed your five non-technical guidelines, we invite your questions or your interest in taking Software Defined Networking knowledge to the next level, contact the team at LA Networks.