Overlay networks: Understanding the basics, making it a reality
A comprehensive collection of articles, videos and more, hand-picked by our editors
Using a network overlay is one way to implement an SDN architecture. An overlay network is a computer or storage network built on top of another network and connected by virtual or logical links. In the context of software-defined networks (SDNs), an overlay network uses virtual links to connect to the underlying physical network (e.g., Ethernet switches or routers).
By submitting your personal information, you agree that TechTarget and its partners may contact you regarding relevant content, products and special offers.
With SDN implementations, the software-defined network can either be built as the logical network (e.g., with a server) or, more commonly, as an overlay on an existing physical Ethernet network consisting of switch and routers.
Physical networks are extremely efficient at moving packets at high speed and high reliability. The challenge that SDN is trying to address, however, is the ability to make the physical network more Agile so it can respond quickly to changes in network requirements -- for example, the provisioning of new compute workloads and virtual machine mobility.
It is likely that initially, the majority of SDN implementations will use SDN to improve the flexibility and operations of an existing physical network -- which would make it an SDN overlay network. As the technology matures, organization may decide to implement "native" SDN protocols as their primary network.
Related Q&A from Lee Doyle
Expert Lee Doyle explains how software-defined networking enables network automation -- leading to lower costs, faster provisioning and better ...continue reading
Networking expert Lee Doyle explains how network architects can get started using software-defined networking technologies -- whether in the campus ...continue reading
SDN is making its way to the edge of the wide area network. But just what is SD-WAN, and who should consider it? Networking expert Lee Doyle explains.continue reading
Have a question for an expert?
Please add a title for your question
Get answers from a TechTarget expert on whatever's puzzling you.