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NFV (Network Functions Virtualization) and its relation to SDN

NFV is all about visualizing network as seen from the perspective of IT. It leverages standard IT industry virtualization concepts to consolidate many network elements onto industry high volume servers, switches and storage. The network is visualized as servers that will be able to deliver services to operators as they are given by today’s hardware based diverse platforms.
Routers and other Network elements will transform into servers. This will significantly reduce cost, complexity, inventory, space and power requirements of todays’ networks. Anything can be virtualized like routers, firewalls, SGSN/GGSN, Radio Access Network Nodes, eNodeB etc.
It includes the concept of multi-tenancy of a resource which will allow the use of single platform for various applications allowing operators to save costs
How the concept of NFV is different from SDN. NFV does not need SDN for its implementation and vice versa. Both can work independently. However they do have synergies. NFV can work without SDN on the concept used in today’s datacenters. But the concept of SDN in which the data and control plane are separated will greatly enhance performance and facilitate operation and maintenance procedures. The NFV’s focus is on the network element and combined with the forwarding concepts of SDN makes a good combination for deployment. NFV is closely aligned with the SDN concept of using commodity servers and switches.
Operators have already led an initiative and formed an Industry Specification Group (ISG) under ETSI to work for the standardization of NFV. The first meeting of ISG has taken place in January 2013; the group is working on developing broad consensus between Network and IT industries to have a consensus on developing standards related to NFV.

February 8, 2013 Posted by | SDN | , , , | Leave a comment

FAQ about Software-defined networking (SDN)?

What is SDN?

Software-defined networking (SDN) is an approach to networking in which control is separated from hardware ( control decoupled from forwarding plane) and given to a software application called a controller.

What are the issues with today’s networks?

  1. Networks are static: Today’s networks are static; e.g introducing new switches or moving any network element or routers need a lot of involvement of IT in terms touching a lot of  switches, routers, firewall and update ACLs, VLANs, QoS using device level management tools. The software version, hardware version etc need to be taken into account. Therefore today’s network are mainly static. On the hand the network needs are dynamic and growing. Applications today reside on multiple virtual machines ( VMs). VMs migrate to balance the server workloads causing the traffic pattern to change dynamically.
  2. Inability to Scale: Data centers are growing in big numbers and so does their connectivity requirements. Companies such as google and Yahoo are depending on the efficiency of their data centers’ connectivity to provide fast speed processing to the users. As the network grows, the network elements grow tremendously rendering it very difficult for the IT to manage the network manually.
  3. Vendor dependence: Service Providers have to depend on the vendors , their product life cycles and roadmaps to deploy new services.


How can SDN Help?

SDN makes the network control decoupled from forwarding and makes it programmable. By this decoupling, IT managers will have full control on the configuration, optimization, management via dynamic SDN programs. This programs are written by service providers themselves and they don’t have to depend on the vendors to develop the products as per their roadmaps. This enables the organization to quickly roll out the services, efficiently control network resources from a central place and cope dynamically with the dynamic demands of the network which otherwise is not possible with the static networking.

What is Open Flow ?

Open Flow is a protocol through which SDN will be standardized; It is the protocol through which the forwarding plane will be controlled by the Control layer.

November 15, 2012 Posted by | SDN | , | Leave a comment