Software Defined Networking
Software Defined Networking (SDN) represents a fundamental shift in power, breaking traditional vendor lock-in as well as offering greater choice, increased flexibility and improved manageability. Traditional network infrastructure is expensive, restrictive and requires a large amount of manual administration. In comparison SDN solutions are open, programmable and centrally managed, making them better placed to deal with your individual requirements and with today’s dynamic, ever-expanding networks.
What is Software Defined Networking?
Software Defined Networking is a new agile way of managing computer networks that virtually separates network control (intelligence) from the network plane (actual work of packet forwarding). It aims to make the network as responsive and flexible as the virtualised server and storage infrastructure of the modern data centre, allowing network engineers and administrators to respond quickly to ever-changing business requirements. In a Software Defined Network, a network administrator can shape traffic from a centralised control console, avoiding the need to touch individual switches and enabling services to be delivered when and where they are needed, regardless of the specific devices a server or other devices are connected to.
The controller is the core of an SDN network, sitting in between network devices at one end and applications at the other. Any communications between applications and devices must pass through the controller. To enable the controller to configure network devices and choose the optimal path for application traffic, network protocols such as OpenFlow are employed.
What is OpenFlow®?
OpenFlow® is the first standard communications interface defined between the control and forwarding layers of an SDN architecture. OpenFlow® allows direct access to and manipulation of the forwarding plane of network devices such as switches and routers, both physical and virtual (hypervisorbased). OpenFlow-based SDN technologies enable IT to address the high-bandwidth, dynamic nature of today’s applications, adapt the network to ever-changing business needs, and significantly reduce operations and management complexity.
In effect, the SDN controller acts as a network operating system (NOS). By freeing the control plane from the network hardware and running it as software, the controller facilitates automated network management and makes it easier to integrate and administer business applications.
This disaggregation of hardware and software has the effect of commoditising networking hardware. In much the same way that original design manufacturers (ODMs) are coming direct to market with new ‘commodity’ or ‘white box’ server brands, networking manufacturers such as Accton are offering ‘bare metal switching’ through brands such as Edge-Core.
As the name suggests, bare metal switches incorporate the physical hardware only and do not include a NOS. They do however include an OS installer called ONIE , which enables the user to load their choice of supported NOS. This does not mean any NOS can be supported; this is dependent on the porting (adapting software) process that each individual switch must go through with each NOS vendor to ensure functionality.
Each networking OS vendor produces a hardware compatibility list, which defines which switches are certified for use with their OS. Click here for Cumulus compatibility list.
The user can chose from a variety of NOS vendors such as Cumulus Networks, IP Infusion, Big Switch Networks and Pica8, all of which have their individual strengths and weaknesses. All are Linux based and are therefore Open in nature. Should the user want to erase one NOS and replace with another, they are free to do so.
Traditional networking vendors also offer SDN solutions. They typically have their own SDN controller application and produce switches that support ‘OpenFlow’. The primary difference is that with traditional vendors, the customer is still locked-in to the brand. This means the switch cannot be reloaded with an alternative NOS and customers are forced to purchase higher priced transceivers and cables. There is also a greater chance of interconnect and compatibility issues arising when using multiple vendors within the same estate.
Benefits of Software Defined Networks
1. Agile, flexible, responsive solutions
The flexibility of SDN allows for a quicker and more efficient rollout of new services, applications and innovations. Systems that would historically have taken months to deploy, can now be functioning within minutes, whilst network function virtualisation (NFV) means developers can isolate and run new application workloads without risk, speeding up problem solving and deployment times.
2. Cost effective solutions
SDN is a cost effective networking solution leveraging the low cost of bare metal switching and generic interconnects. Operating costs are also reduced through the automation of traditional manual network configuration and management tasks.
3. Improve network visibility, performance and management control
SDN is an agile way of managing networks and brings the benefits of network-wide visibility, analytics and control through a simple real-time dashboard. A centralised controller determines the best route for each application traffic flow ensuring quality of service and improving redundancy capability.
4. Freedom from vendor lock-in
Open platform technologies such as SDN enable customers to use multivendor solutions. Resulting in competitive pricing and rapid innovation, giving customers freedom to choose tailormade solutions built around their own individual needs and requirements.
What do Vesper Technologies offer?
As a Edge-Core distributor and key partner with major OS vendors, Vesper Technologies are a one-stop shop combining the most cost effective bare metal hardware with a choice of independent open software for NOS. Our aim is to bring convenience and a single point of support to an area of technology that by it’s nature is disagregated.
Network Ready Switches
For added convenience we offer network ready switches, loaded with your choice of NOS at speeds of 1 / 10 / 40 / 100G. We also supply open transceivers and cabling via
100GBE Data Centre Switch
AS7712-32X is a 32-Port 100G QSFP28 switch with ONIE software installer. AS7712-32X embedded Broadcom Tomahawk 3.2Tbps and Intel Atom C2538 CPU as well as dual 110-230VAC 650W PSUs included and power-to-port airflow. AS7712-32X has 3-year Hardware Warranty.
40GBE Data Centre Switch
AS6712-32X is a 32-Port 40G QSFP+ switch with ONIE software installer. AS6712-32X embedded Broadcom Trident II 1.28Tbps and Intel Atom C2538 CPU as well as dual 110-230VAC 400W PSUs included and port-to-power airflow. AS6712-32X is 3-year Hardware Warranty.
10GBE Data Centre Switch
AS5712-54X has 48-Port 10G SFP+ with 6x40G QSFP+ uplinks with ONIE software installer. AS5712-54X embedded Broadcom Trident II 720Gbps and Intel Atom C2538 CPU as well as PHY-Less/ Re-timer-Less, dual -48VDC 400W PSUs included and port-topower airflow. AS5712-54X is 3-year Hardware Warranty.
1GBE Data Centre Switch
AS4610-54T has 48-Port GE RJ45 port + 4x10G SFP+ and 2 port QSFP+ by DAC or 20G QSFP+ Transceiver. AS4610-54T embedded Broadcom Helix 4 and Dual-core ARM Cortex A9 1GHz with dual 110-230VAC 150W hot-swappable PSUs, system fan-less design and PSUs w/ port-to-power airflow. AS4610-54T is 3-year Hardware Warranty.