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Key Benefits of OpenFlow-Based SDN

Jul 11, 2012

Last week I shared some of the many great products we’ve seen recently from member companies. All of the company announcements speak to the reality of OpenFlow, and highlight that the products are available and in demand. From all of these products come benefits, and one question I find myself answering a lot is “What is the benefit of OpenFlow-based SDN?”OpenFlow® enables networks to evolve by giving a logically centralized, software-driven controller the power to modify the behavior of network devices through a well-defined, standardized "forwarding instruction set". Through modifying the network in such way, OpenFlow-based SDN generates the following benefits:

  • OpenFlow-based SDN creates flexibility in how the network is used, operated, and sold. The software that governs it can be written by enterprises and service providers using ordinary software environments.
  • It promotes rapid service introduction through customization, because network operators can implement the features they want in software they control, rather than having to wait for a vendor to put it in plan in their proprietary products.
  • It lowers operating expenses and results in fewer errors and less network downtime because it enables automated configuration of the network and reduces manual configuration.
  • OpenFlow-based SDN enables virtualization of the network, and therefore the integration of the network with computing and storage. This allows the entire IT operation to be governed more sleekly with a single viewpoint and toolset.
  • It can be easily integrated with computing for resource management and maintenance.
  • OpenFlow-based SDN can better align the network with business objectives.
  • As a standard way of conveying flow-table information to the network devices, it fosters open, multi-vendor markets.

With the many outputs and benefits that are created, OpenFlow® has already been applied to environments as diverse as hyperscale data centers, enterprise data centers, public and private cloud service providers, telecom networks, circuit-switched networks, and optical networks. It is also being used for services ranging from network virtualization, security, and access control to load balancing, traffic engineering, and energy management.

What other benefits do you find when thinking about OpenFlow-based SDN?

--Dan Pitt

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Dan Pitt