Software Defined Networking

Introduction to SDN

(This entry is scheduled to be published on our corporate newsletter, the Datatrend Insider. A link will be added here when it is published)

As a new and emerging technology, Software Defined Networking (SDN) is somewhat difficult to define. Ask 10 different people what SDN means, and you are likely to receive 10 different answers. (Does this remind you of the term “Cloud” in its early days?)

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Acronymopedia: BYOD

Bring Your Own Device (BYOD), is a term used to describe the trend of employees bringing their own computing devices to work. Laptops, tablets and smartphones, sometimes referred to as the “consumerism of IT”. The intent of BYOD is to enable “anywhere access” to corporate information from devices owned by the employee. Without a well thought out plan from the IT organization, BYOD can expose the corporation (and its customers) to security problems.

BYOD can also be an acronym for “Bring Your Own Destruction”, which refers to the potential chaos a poorly planned policy from corporate management and IT.


In my reading about different technologies, I keep running across the term, “tuple”. I’ve ran into it on multiple occasions, in different networking topics. The authors of these documents seem to believe I already know what a tuple is, and use the term quite frequently. Unfortunately for me, somewhere along the way in all of the study I’ve done over the last few years, I apparently failed to notice when the term came in to popular use. So, being the good geek that I am, I decided to do a bit of research to make sure I know what a tuple is, and how its used.

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Acronymopedia: SDN

Software Defined Networking (SDN)

Generally speaking, SDN is the ability to utilize an application framework (software)  function to control the movement of network traffic through the entire network. More specifically, the idea is to separate the control plane (decision making, “brains”) of a network device, from the data plane (data movement, “braun”), and then to centralize the control plane of multiple devices under a single control point. This single control point can then be a part of a higher-level management or orchestration framework, which allows for a more holistic view of the entire infrastructure.

Other terms that may be used in congestion with SDN; abstraction, OpenFlow, OpenDaylight, Controller. Application Programming Interface


Additional Links;

Open Networking foundation

OpenDaylight Foundation

Wikipedia Article


Acronymopedia: NaaS

Network as a Service (NaaS) is a business model for offering networking services in the cloud, or on a pay-as-you-go basis. Some items that could be considered NaaS include Virtual Private Network (VPN) or Bandwidth on Demand. 


A couple of resources for more information on NaaS;  

Network as a Service Wikipedia entry

Network as a Service entry at SearchSDN

Items of Interest 12-09-13

This is the first Items of Interest post for me. These are a few things I found interesting for the week ending Dec. 6th, 2013.

CIO Article: 2013 Prediction: BYOD on the Decline?

As I’ve been ramping up with different network companies, one of the trends I felt I needed to look into is “Bring Your Own Device” (BYOD). With my experience working for a major corporation, and now working for a much smaller company, I see both side of the coin; where is the line between personal and business use? Employes want access to apps/data from the device of choice, companies need to keep data secure. Nobody wants to pay a lot of money for access, devices or security. I’ve seen some pretty neat solutions for keeping business and personal separate and secure, but not every employee wants “that company cr*p” on their phone. This article inspires me to keep watching not only the technology, but the people trends as well.

SPARK: VMware NSX design document

VMware NSX is the virtual Networking component of vSphere 5.5. This is a topic I need to dig into and ensure I’m up to speed, and dare I say, an expert on the topic. Anthony Burk is one of the bloggers that I mentioned in the Tech Field Day posts earlier.

Tech Data Youtube channel

As a network solution provider, (as opposed to a vendor), I utilize Distributors to gain access to network products for resale. Currently, I utilize Tech Data for my Cisco and Brocade product. I’ve met most of the Tech Data resources that support my business, but was surpassed to find this Youtube channel. And, to my greater surprise, it seems to be more network focused. (Tech Data carries more brands than Brocade and Cisco).

The Open Group Certified Architect (Open CA) Program

On the certification front, along with the other certifications I’m working on, I found this certification offered by the Open Group. I think its a good idea, and it gives some credibility to System Architects. Why would they need that? Most industry certifications are vendor specific, and cover the vendor’s products. There are some generic certifications from groups like A-plus, but, in my opinion, they should be considered “entry-level”. A System Architect is tasked with designing a solution that crosses multiple disciplines; storage, compute, network, etc. I believe this certification would help to prove to potential clients you have the skills across multiple disciplines. Although you could bring multiple vendor certifications to the table, you might be considered biased toward the vendors where you obtained your certs.

These are just a few of the things I bookmarked, added to my Diigo account, or added to my DevonThink database. I’ll plan to use this technique to further push me to publish more.

Acronymopedia: NFV

Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) is a specification (not a formal standard) from (primarily) communications industry service providers. The intent is to migrate many network functions (components) from physical appliances to virtual machine implementations.

For example, rather than having to deploy a new box for every instance of a firewall, (including rack space, power/cooling, cabling, etc), NFV prescribes the use of standardized virtual machine images (virtual appliances) to provide the required functionality. This would allow network communications providers utilize the same methodologies employed by cloud computing providers. There are many network product vendors today that deliver their products as a virtual appliance, but I am not yet sure they qualify as an “NFV” product.

The NFV specifications are maintained under the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) Industry Specification Group (ISG). NFV is not a standard, but a specification for how networking functions will be virtualized.

NFV and SDN are closely related, but NFV does not require SDN. They are complimentary technologies. SDN can utilize NFV and vice-versa, but neither is required to have the other.

Closely related acronym; NaaS (to be defined later)

(This post has been edited to add a link to the NaaS entry)