All about SDN

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I’ve recently been coming up to speed on an innovative, disruptive new technology named Software Defined Networking (SDN). It’s likely the most significant development in the networking industry for many years to come. With the promise of substantially streamlining network provisioning, management and configuration, SDN strictly speaking is about decoupling the control (Layer3) and forwarding (Layer2) planes. There is certainly the potential for rippling disruptions in the established network industry (Cisco…) as the “brains” for the network move towards software and out of the hardware.

My approach to rapidly familiarizing with any new technology is to read and absorb as much as possible, while at the same time getting hands-on exposure. Accordingly, here are some suggested resources-

1. Network World offers regular coverage of SDN-related updates, here is a recent overview. For a less technical viewpoint, read this article from Economist magazine. For networking techies, go to the Open Networking Summit , and check out their Video archive of conference sessions. Nick McKeown’s keynote video “How SDN Will Shape Networking” is an excellent introduction.

2. Register for the free OpenFlow Tutorial to learn about the primary SDN protocol, OpenFlow. You’ll get to build a real SDN switch, capture OpenFlow packets and maybe get into some Python.

Another useful free online course is the SDN class offered by Coursera , taught by Dr. Nick Feamster of Georgia Tech. Keep in mind this class is highly technical, and assumes a prior advanced knowledge of network engineering.

Enjoy and Happy Fourth!

P.S. On Twitter, here are my favorite sources on SDN  – @etherealmind @openflownetwork @sdn_news @openNetSummit @openflow @nicira