Networking is in the midst of an evolution where information processing -- and the industry itself -- is moving away from proprietary hardware to software. The emergence of technologies like software-defined networking (SDN), network functions virtualization (NFV) and virtual network functions (VNFs), among others, are all providing new ways for organizations to meet their network management, device configuration and security needs. But the road to software-based networking will require careful navigation.
This guide delves deeper into software-based networking, the specific technologies driving it and the accompanying mindset changes. As with most anything, automation and orchestration provide both benefits and challenges. There are still standards issues to work out and many of the technologies are only just beginning to mature. But they could also provide better network management and control, increased performance and cost savings.
Where is SDN headed?
SDN is one subset of software-based networking. It shares the overall aim to automate the network and provide flexibility, while adding centralized control to the mix. Hype around its benefits still remains and it still has some obstacles to face, but SDN has finally started to fill out as it matures.
Software-based networking encompasses SDN, NFV and network virtualization. Read why Lee Doyle think it can benefit 5G wireless, hybrid cloud and the internet of things (IoT). Continue Reading
Enterprises strive to achieve the ever-desired digital transformation, but a network transformation might be an essential step. Software-based networking -- with SDN and automation -- could help. Continue Reading
The growth of network automation within the network could mean the eventual demise of command-line interface (CLI). As always, there could be repercussions. Continue Reading
SDN and DevOps are often paired together because of their supposed shared mission to automate the network. Russ White explains why he thinks this line of thinking is incorrect. Continue Reading
SDN isn't just for the data center anymore
While SDN technology originally focused around the data center, more users are finding its applications can extend to other use cases. Of course, with the good comes the bad.
Software-based networking and network automation bring benefits like easier network provisioning, centralized management and network security based on policies. But Lee Doyle says challenges remain. Continue Reading
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3NFV and VNFs-
What does it take to virtualize the network and its functions?
If NFV is a subgroup of software-based networking, then virtual network functions (VNFs) could be considered a subgroup of the broader NFV initiative. Both aim to move network services that were traditionally performed in hardware toward one device that virtualizes those functions, and are most often used in telecom operator networks. Learn more about NFV's potential and how it still needs to mature.
NFV automation and NFV orchestration are both elements of NFV management, automation and orchestration (MANO), says Lee Doyle. Here, he dives into how the two are related, but different. Continue Reading
NFV and SDN standards have been slow to, well, standardize, but the Open Networking Foundation hopes to change that and advance the networking industry toward better standards. Continue Reading
NFV can lend its vision of function abstraction to automate service operations and prompt SDN to meet its potential, explains Tom Nolle. Continue Reading
4Effects on pros-
Preparing your staff for software-based networking
As software-based networking and its related technologies increase within networks, many network professionals may have to adjust their mindsets and roles. These changes could be difficult, especially for engineers who haven't delved much into newer technologies -- like SDN, for example. But even for cloud- and virtualization-savvy networking pros, SDN still won't seem simple; it puts a complex layer of abstraction on top of a complex network in hopes of creating a simpler interface. Any organization looking seriously at software-based networking will need to carefully think about how it will affect networking staff and IT operations.
Experts are urging educators to teach SDN in the classrooms so students will gain more experience and skills with the changing networking industry. Continue Reading
With the changes software-based networking brings to the industry, Jim Metzler thinks it's important for network professionals to stay updated on the advances. Continue Reading
Cisco restructured its training and certification programs -- something which many engineers hoped for. But the changes could also be more costly. Continue Reading
Executives from both Yahoo and Verizon shared their stories for how they transitioned to an SDN and DevOps mindset -- a change that should be approached with care. Continue Reading
Cisco updated its CCIE certification exam to include evolving technologies, but some wonder if that's enough -- or worth it. Continue Reading
Read this answer from Will Murrell if you've ever wondered whether you should make the investment for formal SDN training and certification. Continue Reading