Essential Guide

This Essential Guide is a collection of articles, videos and other content selected by our editors to give you a comprehensive view of this topic.

SDN basics for service providers

In this guide, learn the basics of network functions virtualization, SDN architecture and SDN applications for the service provider network

Software-defined networking has caught the eye of service providers. While SDN strategies and use cases are just beginning to emerge, service providers see the potential in using the technology to optimize networks and create revenue-producing services.

Ultimately, service providers are hoping that SDN will enable the long-sought-after goal of application-aware and application-reactive networks. They're also aiming to enable network virtualization for agility and cost savings. To meet those needs, vendors are developing a plethora of SDN products.

However, there's a ways to go before the full potential of SDN will be known.

In this guide to SDN basics and applications for service providers, learn basic SDN and NFV terminology and technology choices, as well as the challenges service providers face when building SDN environments.


1. SDN basics for service providers

Before providers can use software-defined networking to drive down costs and promote agility, they must first understand the choices in SDN models and strategies. Service providers must choose between three SDN models, and part of that decision will be driven by determining which applications service providers want to run on the SDN controller. Read more on the basic elements of SDN and why providers are flocking to the new technology.

  • The three models of SDN

    Before providers can consider SDN deployment, they must determine which model to support. This expert tip outlines the three SDN models to choose from.


  • Barriers to SDN provider adoption

    Many large providers have run small-scale SDN pilots, yet they continue to run into barriers when attempting large-scale deployments. In this tip, read about challenges to large-scale SDN deployment.


  • Realizing SDN controller application potential

    The goal of a SDN controller in a typical architecture is to convert a route to related sequence of device-forwarding behavior into specific forwarding changes. Learn the ins-and-outs to unlocking the potential of these controller applications.


  • Which SDN architecture will work for you?

    here are two SDN architecture types: centralized and decentralized. In this expert tip, learn about the fundamental differences between the two types and determine which works best for you.


  • Why are providers interested in SDN?

    The purchase of network virtualization company Nicira Networks by VMware jump-started provider interest in the SDN market. This blog explores why providers are flocking to the new technology and how SDN can solve operational problems and monetize their networks.



2. SDN applications for service providers

Although still few and far between, SDN applications have emerged, allowing service providers to streamline services, gain agility and even generate revenue. Read about the ways Google uses OpenFlow, how SDN can improve collaboration and video, and how organizations are interconnecting physical networks and domains using SDN. Additionally, learn how SDN improves security, but how it also poses new concerns.

NFV basics

3. What to know about network functions virtualization

Software-defined networking and network functions virtualization are often complementary to one another, but they're not the same. Learn about the basics of NFV and where it intersects with SDN.