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SDN learning: Top expert advice of 2015

You've got SDN questions, and we've got answers. Covering topics ranging from SD-WAN to NFV, here is the most-read advice from SearchSDN's experts this year.

Editor's note: In part one of our two-part series spotlighting the top expert contributions of the year, we review SearchSDN's five most-read articles written by analysts, engineers and programmers. These perspectives promote SDN learning and range from high-level overviews to deep technical dives. In part two, we share the final five most-read expert contributions of 2015.

As we enter a brave new world of virtualized networks, many experts caution that today's networking engineers must become tomorrow's networking programmers, or risk getting left behind. The challenge of engaging in ongoing SDN learning, however, promises to keep even the most enthusiastic next-generation networking pros on their toes.

As analyst John Burke explained in his expert tip on the flavors of SDN, even the meaning of software-defined networking continues to shift, as the technology itself evolves. To make matters more bewildering, one network programmer's NFV is another's VNF -- in other words, even the experts are inconsistent in their use of network virtualization terms. And, of course, with all the vendor hype clouding software-defined WAN, or SD-WAN, it's not surprising that IT pros are scratching their heads about the technology's benefits and costs.

Our most-read expert contribution of 2015 answered this deceptively simple question: What's the difference between NFV and VNFs?

So, it is fitting that our most-read expert contribution of 2015 answered this deceptively simple question: What's the difference between NFV and VNF? Don't know? Well, we've tracked the readership numbers, and trust us: You aren't the only one.

Other top expert contributions covered topics as diverse as SDN and the Internet of Things (IoT), NFV management and orchestration (MANO), and -- of course -- SD-WAN. While they vary in topic and scope, all of the pieces you'll find below encourage valuable SDN learning. Here are SearchSDN's top five most-read pieces of expert editorial content from 2015:

NFV vs. VNF: What's the difference?

SDN engineer Darien Hirotsu offered a clear and concise answer to this question as part of our Ask the Expert series. He noted that while some network pros use the terms network functions virtualization (NFV) and virtual network functions (VNFs) interchangeably, they have distinct meanings. Jump on the SearchSDN reader bandwagon and take a look at Hirotsu's full answer here.

SDN to support IoT devices

According to expert David Geer, you'll find more than hype at the intersection of SDN and the Internet of Things. In fact, in this piece -- our second most-read expert contribution from 2015 -- Geer wrote that software-defined networks will drive the expansion of IoT by enabling more efficient use of network resources.

REST APIs in SDN: An introduction for network engineers

Next, we have another piece from Hirotsu -- this time, an introduction to REST APIs in SDN. This expert tip uses a Simple Network Management Protocol analogy to explain how a REST API works, and also shares how to start experimenting with REST APIs on your own.

Read the full piece here.

Are OpenStack and NFV MANO interchangeable?

Networking pros disagree on OpenStack's role in NFV, with some pointing out the apparent overlap between the two. In this expert tip, analyst Tom Nolle explored differing perspectives on whether OpenStack meets NFV's MANO requirements.

How software-defined WAN architecture is changing the market

SDN technology made major waves in the WAN this year, so it's unsurprising that David Jacobs' expert perspective on SD-WAN made it into our top-five list. Here, he explained how SD-WAN -- with its potential to reduce network costs and increase performance -- could transform branch office connectivity. He also profiled some of the many vendors now offering SD-WAN products and services.

Next Steps

SDN will change wireless networks

How Facebook and Google use SDN

SDN learning critical for network engineers

Dig Deeper on SD-WAN

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