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A Brief Overview of OpenFlow & Software-Defined Networking

Peter Christy Research Director, Networking 451 Research peter.christy@451research.com


Santa Clara, CA USA April 2013 1

Agenda
A Definition History Drivers Major Activities

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Software-Defined Networking
Implementing network functionality in software than does not run on network devices OpenFlow is an important example but SDN OpenFlow

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What Motivates SDN?


Ability to build research networks Need to better automate network management Virtualization Cloud computing Large data center or network cost optimization

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The History of SDN


Three parallel stories
OpenFlow Virtualization Cloud Computing

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OpenFlow (Stanford, ONF)


Began as a way to build research networks
Packet-forwarding hardware standard instruction set A protocol for remote interaction

OpenFlow

Switch
Packet Forwarding ASIC
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ASIC Look up header bits Match rules inCAM Destination and priority

Virtualization (VMware)
A technology miracle
A thin layer of software that has transformed IT

SDN implications
Networking within a virtual server Use of virtual machines to implement network functions (e.g. load balancer)

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Cloud Computing (Google, AWS)


Large-scale, highly-automated data centers Resources on-demand, pay for what you use SDN implications
Building virtual networks for virtual applications Network automation for data center automation Network cost minimization Hybrid cloud integration (public/private)

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Why do we need SDN?


OpenFlow founders painted Cisco as the reason and said that network innovation was slow because switches were like mainframes (closed and vertically integration) We needed openness and standards OpenFlow was the answer

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Is Cisco the problem?

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Why Do We Need SDN?


Because of how the Internet was standardized (or not standardized)
switch switch switch

The protocols for communicating with an adjacent peer are standardized


switch switch switch

But the configuration and management is NOT


switch switch switch

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What SDN fixes


Historically network devices operated autonomously (self-governed) For most purposes that is great Its not great for a large data center, or to support an automated data center, or for a large service provider

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Solution Approaches
Pure OpenFlow Hybrid OpenFlow Layered Networks Software Network Implementations
L2-3 networking in software Network functions implemented as VMs

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Major Activities
ONF
All the switch vendors have OF offerings Arista added interesting new twist (Direct Flow)

Cloud Computing (AWS and would be competitors) Virtualization (VMW/VSX and would be competitors) Whatever Cisco does

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Q&A
Thanks! Peter Christy, Research Director, Networking 451 Research / Palo Alto & SF peter.christy@451research.com

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