SDN Testing: Software Defined Networking (SDN)/OpenFlow Overview
Most modern day network architectures rely on a traditional and conventional hierarchical organization, dependent on a tree-like structure of Ethernet switches and routers. Focusing solely on client-server computing, these network architectures fail to meet the needs of today’s computing trends.
Changes in traffic patterns for increased accessibility and connectivity, the rising prominence of public and private cloud services, and the immense parallel server processing necessary for mega datasets are making it imperative that the demand for higher network capacity be fulfilled. Software Defined Networking (SDN) addresses these needs using a more dynamic and flexible networking architecture.
SDN moves away from traditional architectures into a revolutionary service delivery platform able to readily and easily address changes within industry. With SDN, the control plane is accessed and modified using open protocols through software clients. By allowing third parties increased access to the control plane via software, SDN provides enterprises and carriers unparalleled programmability and network flexibility with rapid experimentation and optimization in order to address business needs.
Current Networking Systems
Software Defined Networking System
OpenFlowOpenFlow is one such communication protocol that enables SDN. OpenFlow, the first standard interface communications protocol designed specifically for SDN, decouples the control and data planes so that software can determine the network packets passing through a network thereby customizing the needs of applications and its users. With the centralization of the control plane, it is possible to introduce and experiment with new capabilities in isolated slices of the network without affecting the rest of the network. This major change in network architecture offers its users a way to introduce new applications without the reliance upon individual device configuration and vendor releases.
SDN via OpenFlow revolutionizes and expands the capabilities of networking architecture, providing key benefits for the ever-changing market. With rapid innovation and experimentation possible through software control, OpenFlow delivers the flexibility necessary to combat current and future network problems. Additionally, not only is there an increased choice regarding new applications but there is also an increased choice regarding vendor markets. The switch from a hardware-based to a software-based networking architecture creates open multivendor markets as the network operator can select different control and data plane vendors. The division of the planes increases network reliability and security, creating the potential to lower both CAPEX and OPEX costs while decreasing the complexity of networking hardware and network management.
SDN / OpenFlow TestingWith every innovative new networking strategy and solution comes the need to test its efficiency. As demand for accessibility, connectivity, immense server processing, and new applications and services increases in today’s dynamic market, a new network paradigm of SDN testing is imperative in order for service providers to turn OpenFlow into a reality.
With Ixia, equipment manufacturers, service providers, enterprises, and government agencies can conduct SDN testing via OpenFlow thereby addressing and answering the following key questions and concerns:
- Is the network architecture properly and effectively functioning?
- What is the capability of introducing a new software program or application?
- Can the network keep pace with new technologies and standards while ensuring rapid innovation?
- Does the programming environment allow the centralized network state to easily tune the network behavior, applications, and services to user needs?
- Can the network ensure protocol conformance and optimal performance? Is the network management cost effective while remaining secure and reliable?
With Ixia solutions, service providers are guaranteed a critical verification of protocol conformance and network design tuning prior to deployment.