Essential Guide

SDN use cases emerge across the LAN, WAN and data center

In this guide, learn how SDN in the network results in SDN use cases in the LAN, WAN, data center and cloud, as well as in service provider networks and within security.


Software-defined networking use cases continue to emerge, playing very different roles throughout the network. SDN is in action in the LAN, WAN, data center, cloud and provider networks. However, challenges still exist in implementing the new technology, and they'll have to be overcome in each area of the network spectrum. This guide explores how SDN is being used in various parts of the network, taking into consideration network management, optimization, security and wireless technologies.

1Data center-

SDN in the data center

Virtualization has largely transformed the data center with flexible and automated server provisioning. But networking and storage infrastructure have not kept pace. In fact, they often serve as the bottleneck. Alan Earls, TechTarget contributor, writes that software-defined data center (SDDC) strategies could be key to moving this infrastructure to a more reliable state. The concept behind SDDC, he wrote, is to bring every aspect of an IT environment to parity through virtualization. "As a result, all infrastructure is delivered as a service and automated by software."

Meanwhile, SDN expert Lee Doyle writes that the relationship between data center network fabric and SDN will become increasingly important in creating SDDC. Scaling networks using SDN switches, and keeping an eye out for how SDN will play into big data, are all explored in this section about how SDN will transform the data center.


Will the software-defined data center go mainstream?

Trends like cloud computing and BYOD are putting pressure on data centers to modernize and perform better in flexibility and security. Read how SDN and the software-defined data center can help. Continue Reading


Issues with a software-defined infrastructure

The benefits of a software-defined data center are clear, but current SDN technology is still immature, and users should be cautious. Continue Reading


Data center network fabrics and SDN intersect

SDN expert Lee Doyle outlines how data center network fabrics and SDN could work together through three particular strategies. Continue Reading


Big data, SDN and programmability

Plexxi's Michael Bushong argues that the partnership of big data and SDN is inevitable, but tools to enable this must still emerge. Continue Reading


Scale data center networks with SDN switches

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign's Ocean Cluster for Experimental Architectures in Networks is using SDN switches to test a new data center network architecture. Continue Reading


How tunneling protocols enable multi-tenancy

SDN expert Lee Doyle explains how overlay networks operate, and how they will enable multi-tenancy. Continue Reading


Wading through the SDN storage hype

Alan Earls explores the hype vs. reality in software-defined storage, outlining successful use cases. Continue Reading

2SDN outside the data center-

SDN in the LAN and WAN

The benefits of SDN in the data center are clear, but looking outside the data center, SDN holds incredible potential in the LAN and WAN. The already difficult-to-manage WAN has become more complex with the rise of SaaS and BYOD, but SDN could play a role in easing the problem. SDN technologies address these challenges in the WAN with automated network provisioning and flexible links between data centers, writes SDN analyst Lee Doyle.

Meanwhile, OpenFlow and SDN could transform in the LAN, enabling unified wired and wireless management, new levels of security and tighter BYOD control.


How software-defined WAN architecture is changing the market

SDN principles are transforming the wide area network, with a number of networking companies -- both startups and established players -- offering software-defined WAN technologies to enterprises. Continue Reading


SDN apps move beyond the data center

SDN has changed the data center network and is poised to redefine other parts of the network -- and the role of network engineers. Continue Reading


SDN benefits in the WAN

With WAN challenges growing, Lee Doyle writes that SDN can help by enabling automated network provisioning, flexible links between data centers and secure remote access to files and applications. Continue Reading


Cyan unveils SDN WAN

Cyan, a packet-optical transport vendor, assembled a group of partners that will build and validate a multivendor SDN system, which will enable a dynamic SDN WAN. Continue Reading


Diving into SDN WAN

There is plenty of potential in applying SDN to the WAN, but Marc Goodman warns there are still many unanswered questions. Continue Reading


Unified network management via SDN and wireless LAN

SDN and wireless networks may be getting little coverage, but Crystal Bedell writes that combining the two technologies could result in better unified network management and the ability to implement a more granular BYOD policy. Continue Reading


Campus LAN meets OpenFlow SDN

SDN may have a role in the campus LAN, improving security and providing more granular management for BYOD, writes site editor Rivka Gewirtz Little. Indiana University has already put SDN to task in the campus LAN. Continue Reading


SDN use case for collaboration and video

Use-case talk for SDN may be scarce, but Sonus Networks has had success using SDN and network virtualization to optimize capacity for video and collaboration applications, which could result in increased revenue for service providers. Continue Reading

3SDN and service providers-

Service providers look to SDN

Providers have taken a strong interest in SDN, especially when it comes to enabling the hybrid cloud. But a recent TechTarget survey shed some light on the general attitude of service providers toward SDN, writes site editor Jessica Scarpati: "While service providers are continuing to invest in conventional infrastructure, many are still slow to adopt more specialized or innovative technologies like cloud orchestration or software-defined networking."

This sentiment is echoed in another TechTarget survey, where cloud providers claimed that, although there's hype and interest around SDN, "adolescent" technologies are still too immature to implement, reports news writer Gina Narcisi. According to SDN expert Tom Nolle, a lack of standards, missing boundary functions and a need for multivendor network control, are all valid reasons that are blocking SDN provider adoption.


Barriers to service provider SDN adoption

SDN expect Tom Nolle outlines five obstacles that could be preventing SDN adoption by service providers. Continue Reading


Service providers evaluating SDN

Recent survey results show that cloud providers are still slow to adopt more innovative technologies, like cloud orchestration and SDN. Continue Reading


Cloud providers claim SDN to be immature

Another TechTarget survey lends insight into cloud providers and their reasoning behind thinking that SDN is just too young to provide. Continue Reading


Finding potential in SDN controller apps

SDN expert Tom Nolle looks at tips to unlocking the potential of SDN controller applications for providers. Continue Reading


SDN the answer to hybrid cloud challenges?

Cloud expert Paul Parker-Johnson writes that SDN could be the answer to challenges in providing IT services in the cloud. Continue Reading


Understanding SDN and NFV

Both SDN and network functions virtualization (NFV) hold potential for service providers; however, they're not one and the same, writes SDN expert Tom Nolle. Continue Reading


How NFV is changing architecture

Flexible platforms and revenue-generating services are important for providers, and network functions virtualization could be the very thing to help accomplish those goals, writes Tom Nolle. Continue Reading

4SDN and security-

SDN's role in security

SDN has the potential to enhance network security and access control.

The technology offers a deeper level of visibility, which will mean more granularity in packet analysis and network monitoring. What's more, its centralized control could result in advanced network policy-setting and enforcement through visibility and the ability to route individual flows to specific devices.


Automated network security through SDN

SDN expert Dave Shackleford writes that the centralized control that SDN allows will essentially result in security-defined routing and other strategies that will forever change the way the industry defends the network. Continue Reading


SDN security strategies

Because of the separation of the control plane and the data plane, SDN offers security strategies with a deeper level of granularity to packet analysis, network monitoring and traffic control. Continue Reading


Radware adds open source DDoS protection to OpenDaylight

Security vendor Radware added an open source denial-of-service protection application to the OpenDaylight Project. Continue Reading


SDN security enables granular policy control

Although SDN may pose new challenges, SDN expert Alan Earls argues that it's just as likely to enhance network security. Continue Reading

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