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Software-based networking broadens automation approaches

Software-based networking mirrors the networking industry's move away from specific 'software-defined' technologies to a broader scope of software networking with the aim of automation and efficiency.


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.

1SDN evolution-

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.


What software networking is and how companies can use it

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


Digital shift requires a network transformation first

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

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Learn how SDN fuels agility and innovation

Network transformation can begin with SDN. But the process involves clearly-defining objectives and potential results -- both good and bad. Continue Reading


Automated networking takes over from the command line

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 automation delivers, but how?

SDN automation can offer cost benefits, yes, but Lee Doyle describes how it can also speed up network provisioning and manage network traffic. Continue Reading


Why SDN and DevOps should not share automated missions

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

2SDN benefits-

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.


Mature SDN yields more application examples

David Jacobs provides examples of how SDN has moved beyond the data center and cloud to reach service providers, hospitals and IoT networks. Continue Reading


Check out the SDN benefits to your network

SDN addresses three important network problems, says John Burke. He also lists some questions you can ask to determine how SDN can benefit your own network. Continue Reading


Easier SDN deployments enable private clouds

SDN deployments require hard work, and easier deployments could help enterprises move to private cloud more efficiently, according to John Burke. Continue Reading


Starring role for SDN in 5G networks

With the advent of 5G wireless expected in the next few years, Andrew Froehlich explains how SDN could provide the necessary network to support increased data traffic. Continue Reading


How clouds and clusters reap SDN benefits

The issue of vendor lock-in -- and the drive to open source -- has been intrinsically tied with SDN. This open approach could also create SDN benefit. Continue Reading


Challenges remain despite software-based networking perks

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

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.


How to lay the foundation for a virtual network

SDN, NFV and VNFs are different and, admit it, confusing. But Andrew Froehlich helps clear these technologies up and presents steps for network professionals considering deployment. Continue Reading


Automation vs. orchestration in NFV: What's the difference?

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


Open Networking Foundation aims to set NFV, SDN standards

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


All about NFV infrastructure software platforms

Without solid infrastructure underneath, NFV technology would be defunct. In this article, Lee Doyle compares two of the top NFV infrastructure platforms and the requirements they need to meet. Continue Reading


SDN requires automated service lifecycle management

NFV can lend its vision of function abstraction to automate service operations and prompt SDN to meet its potential, explains Tom Nolle. Continue Reading


Case study: Creating an IaaS platform foundation

In this SDN case study, Hutchinson Networks deployed Cisco ACI to create the underlying foundation for its infrastructure as a service platform and to integrate with NFV. 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 urge SDN education for networking students

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


Keeping up with tech change means new networking skills

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 recertification: More flexible but also pricey

Cisco restructured its training and certification programs -- something which many engineers hoped for. But the changes could also be more costly. Continue Reading


Verizon and Yahoo on prepping the team for SDN and DevOps

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


Debate on CCIE certification continues despite SDN, cloud updates

Cisco updated its CCIE certification exam to include evolving technologies, but some wonder if that's enough -- or worth it. Continue Reading


Wondering if formal SDN training, certification worth it?

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

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