CIO — Software defined networking is one of the most misunderstood concepts in infrastructure computing. It's a phenomenon that's growing in relevance, but it's still mysterious to many CIOs, particularly those who were not reared in overly technical practice. Many myths still surround SDN. What exactly is the notion behind the technology? How can you apply SDN at your business? And how can your organization benefit from it.
Software-Defined Networking Basics
Essentially, SDN takes the virtualization phenomenon that's been sweeping datacenters around the globe for the past several years and extends it from computing hardware and storage devices to network infrastructure itself. By inserting a layer of intelligent software between network devices (such as switches, routers and network cards) and the operating system that talks to the wire, software defined networking lets an IT professional or administrator configure networks using only software. No longer must he travel to every physical device and configure—or, in many cases, reconfigure—settings.
SDN achieves the same abstraction that hardware virtualization does. With hardware virtualization, the hypervisor inserts itself between the physical components of a computer (the motherboard, main bus, processor, memory and so on) and the operating system. The operating system sees virtualized components and operates with those, and the hypervisor itself translates the instructions coming to these virtualized components into instructions the underlying physical hardware can handle.