Software Defined Networking (SDN) and Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) offer new ways to design, deploy and manage networks and their services. Both SDN and NFV technologies propagate software-based approaches to networking to deliver more scalable, agile and modern networks that can better support and complement the overall IT objectives of businesses.
Software Defined Networking: SDN encompasses several kinds of network technologies aimed at making a network agile and flexible. In SDN, instead of using an embedded software module of routers and switches to manage the network traffic, external software takes over the responsibility. The network layout is no longer based on the physical infrastructure. A software application running within the cloud infrastructure or a third-party cloud-management software application can take over the responsibility of routing network traffic. This makes it easier to carry out tasks such as load balancing on devices across multiple servers and automatically changing the network design to prepare the fastest and most effective data paths in a timely manner.
Network Functions Virtualization: NFV focuses on optimizing network services. The goal of NFV is to disconnect network functions from hardware devices and allow network services, currently being implemented by hardware devices such as routers, firewalls and load balancers, to be hosted on virtual machines. The network functions are controlled by a virtual machine and the services that earlier required dedicated hardware can be completed through on standard servers. This capability has eliminated the need of network administrators to purchase dedicated hardware devices for building a service chain. As network function capabilities can be managed through software, there is no need for network administrators to physically provision their cloud infrastructure or data centers. This helps in reducing both capital expenditures and operating expenses.
SDN and NFV can work in a complementary manner to each other. Both technologies are showing a way forward towards generic network hardware and more open software. The centralized control and management implemented in SDN can be realized through the virtualized environment implemented in NVF. This is very relevant for network management services, such as network monitoring, traffic analysis, load balancing and so forth. It is quite apparent that the functions performed by NFV work well in the framework defined for SDN. Also, it is very evident that services provided by NFV will help provide the necessary modularity and segregation of the network control and data packet planes which is required by SDN.
To conclude, it can be said that the SDN and NFV technologies promise to remove the rigid, costly and proprietary features of present day networks, theby preventing data centers and cloud infrastructure to be more agile and flexible for adapting to changes in the businesses.