Understanding SDN for beginners.

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SDN for beginners

As you know technology nowadays is being developed rapidly in a way we can see new discoveries every day, but maybe every hour. One of these technologies and sciences is Computer science and especially what we are talking here is networking.bu we can notice that even with that huge discoveries and inventions, networking still preserve that core architecture that we are working with. These days are the days where these core concepts must change and adapt to the massive change in technology and intentions. One of these huge changes is called SDN or software-defined network. What is SDN? how does it work? and who can we apply? and much more, will be discussed in this series, and in this part, we will discuss the definition of SDN concept.

What is a network and how it works nowadays?

Before explaining what is SDN, let’s see how networks work in general so we can understand the difference and then understand SDN more clearly.

What a Network simply is a set of devices and computers connected together using routers, switches so they connect together and exchange data. The switch is used to connect devices located on the same network and routers are used to connect different subnets.

And this network is divided into two main parts: the control plane which is the brain of the network “How data is routed” and the data plane is responsible for obeying the control plane rules and transmitting the data and may be called Forwarding plane.

In this architecture, both data and control plane works in the same portion. As a simple example, you have to configure each router and switch from a control perspective then those switches and routers are also responsible for forwarding and transmitting data.

Keep this example in your mind to understand SDN later on.

Historical overview of SDN.

SDN is not new from a conceptual view, it was studied and found in 90’s, But the first was time was somehow implemented was not for a long time. It was in 2004 which goes back to an article wrote by Martin Casado.

What you need to know as a computer scientist and especially network specialists that SDN will take the lead in network technology architecture sooner or later especially that SDN will serve not only on improving the network architecture management and performance, but also it will reduce the overall network costs.

In 2011 ONF (Open networking foundation) was founded, one of the largest companies that should be followed in this domain


What is SDN?

SDN stands for Software-defined network. And it’s a new concept in networking, and simply In SDN, we separate the control plane from the data plane and the Control plane will be placed separate devices.

But what will this separation effect and how it can help?

As  I showed you in the sample example in explaining the traditional network, The control, and the data plane are combined on each device on the network, so the switch or the router plays both roles.

So by removing the control plane from all devices on your network and putting them on a central device that will manage all your network, then you will be able to facilitate management by configuring only the central manager (control plane) and you will not need to configure each device alone.

So by implementing SDN all devices on your network (switches and routers) will only be used to transmit and forward data.


Main advantages of SDN

1. Decreasing network architecture costs, but in general don’t update anything in your network before studying the costs with respect to advantages and then you take your decision.

2. Central programmable management of your network, which will optimize network performance and security and of course facilitating your network management and design.


To be continued…

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