One of the biggest challenges for technology is to stay as flexible as possible to allow the users maximum ability to control their programs. Software defined networks are a way to allow network designers and administrators the ability to manage and create their networks to allow for quick changes and quick decision making.
Networks have been notoriously slow to change in the past and that’s unacceptable when you consider how important it is for networks to be reliable and act properly. The reason that networks have needed to evolve is that our computing needs have evolved. No longer is a network a defined system of computers in an office building or school. Now our networks are global and mobile. Our mobile devices mean we need to be able to access our networks from anywhere with full functionality.
What is a software defined network?
Software defined networks are mostly defined by their user interfaces and their architecture. Traditional networks were very static. Networks essentially have three aspects to them. These are the Data Plane where your information is stored and altered. The Control Plane is the next plane and it determines how information is routed to various locations and where processor power is needed. The third plane is the application plane where people are using the network and accessing the functions.
In a traditional network, the control plane and the data plane were inexplicity linked together. However in a software defined network they are decoupled and suddenly decisions on how data traffic moves is separate from the data itself. This means that you can use software to make decisions about how the traffic is flowing. You can change the flows depending on the situation. Your software is programmed out so that it can take into account all the factors that your network is facing and make the right decision based on that. It can throttle data transfer during heavy load times or open things up for quiet times.
What are the benefits of a software defined network?
Software defined networks allow for a lot of benefits to your data networks needs. As we become more cloud dependant, it’s going to be important to keep up. So what are some of these benefits?
- Load Balancing - As mentioned briefly above, your software defined network is going to be balancing the request load on your networks and can alter it according to network conditions and requirements.
- Cloud Compatibility - One of the biggest benefits is that software defined networks work through the cloud. With the way that data centers are evolving, it’s possible that in the future most networks will be running entirely in the cloud.
- Programmable and Manageable - Since your network is controlled by software and the planes are decoupled, you are able to change up your programming through your software. In addition you can manage your networks from a single easily accessible source. Changing things on your network is as simple as having a pre-programmed plan that can be implemented with a single click. There’s no need to spend hours reconfiguring your networks to accomplish a single small change!
- Future Forward - Software defined networks are the future. While most people seem to have realized this and are trending this way, it’s important to get on the wagon early so that you can implement your futuristic tech changes as soon as you are ready to go!