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Chapter 4: How SDN Works

Networking or network technology is found to involve the usage of the data system to deliver and manage digital resources across the computer network. Computer networking or networking technologies help employees to share information or ideas more efficiently and easily. Networking technologies allow businesses to utilise centralised databases and improve the efficiency of storage. Thus, the following section aims to provide a brief evaluation of the contribution and effectiveness of network technologies for business. Considering one of the features of data centre networks such as SDN (Software-Defined Networking), a technical review of the mentioned book that is “Software Defined Networks: A Comprehensive Approach” will be made throughout the analysis. Features of SDN, working principles, along with the effectiveness of the mentioned book for understanding the principle of SDN will also be underlined in the following section.

SDN is considered an emerging technology or architectural concept that is cost-effective, manageable, adaptable, and dynamic. SDN is being structured to make specific networks easier and flexible to manage systematically. It is seen that SDN centralises the management through abstracting the control plane from the function of data forwards within discrete devices of networking. It is seen that SDN is found to be widely adopted by data centres by 64% followed by WANs (Wide Area Networks) by 58% and access networks by 40% respectively .

In this regard, the book “Software Defined Networks: A Comprehensive Approach” underlines the mentioned topic in a systematic and accurate manner. The author of the mentioned book underlined five key and fundamental characteristics of SDN such as simplified device, plane separation, centralised control, virtualisation, and network automation respectively. Each of the technical terms highlighted in this chapter of the mentioned book can be understood clearly, which in turn helps the readers to gain knowledge on the way SDN works. The identified five characteristics are illustrated, and explained systematically by the usage of technical explanation, which forms strength to the entire chapter that enables readers to gain a clear knowledge about the SDN concept along with its features.

OpenFlow is considered as the communication protocol within the architecture of SDN, which enables the SDN controller to interact directly with the respective forwarding plan of the network devices such as routers and switches. It is identified that OpenFlow establishes a specific standard that underlines the way controllers and interface management connects to forward tables within the networking device. In this context, chapter 5 of the selected book highlights OpenFlow can be considered as a communication protocol among SDN control and data plane along with a part of data plane behaviour. It has also been identified that the OpenFlow system is associated with the OpenFlow controller, which interacts with one or more than one OpenFlow Switches. Specific technical review along with terminology such as Last-In-First-Out (LIFO) along with push and pop operations in LIFO has been underlined that helps the readers to visualise the way specification of OpenFlow works across the computer system or network [3]. Technical explanations provided in this chapter are easy and effective to understand, which forms strength to this chapter as it helps the readers to understand the way OpenFlow works across the network.  

Chapter 5: The OpenFlow Specification

OpenFlow ControllerFigure 1: OpenFlow Controller

(Source:)

Datacenter is considered as the physical facility that is being utilised by business entities to store their critical data and application. Data centre is found to be designed in accordance with the storage resources and computing network that allow the delivery of the shared data and application. Data centre is found to be designed with switches, routers, storage systems, firewalls, application delivery controllers, and servers. In this respect, chapter 8 of the “Software Defined Networks: A Comprehensive Approach '' provides a suitable illustration of the concept of a data centre along with its characteristics and features. It is also mentioned that data centres can be segregated into three specific aspects such as Private-Single-Tenant, Private Multitenant, and Public Multitenant respectively. In this chapter, a detailed evaluation of the working principle of SDN in data centres has been identified followed by different company examples such as IBM, Amazon, Google, and others that have specifically identified the category of data centre to perform their network operations. In addition to this, different technologies that are being utilised in data centres have also been underlined that help the readers to analyse the way SDN works in the data centre.

Chapter 8 of the mentioned book also underlines the specific shortcomings by addressing specific areas such as Number of VLANs, Table Size of MAC Addresses, along with Spanning Tree. All the relevant and required topics are being addressed in a chapter that helps the readers to understand the technical explanation clearly. On the other hand, it is seen that this chapter fails to provide the benefits that SDN can offer to the data centre due to which readers failed to gain practical knowledge effectively.

Network Function Virtualisation or NFV is considered as the way to accelerate deployment of service and minimise cost for the network operators [6]. This is being performed through decoupling functions such as encryption or firewall from dedicated hardware as well as moving them into the virtual server. For instance, it can be mentioned that instead of incorporation of a new appliance of hardware over the network for enabling network encryption, software for encryption can be deployed across the existing standardised server over the network [7].

In this context, chapter 10 of the mentioned book underlines the concept and the functionality of NFV over the network. In addition to this, comparison has also been made between the classical network appliance approach and NFV through graphical representation. Along with this, it has been identified that the primary role of a VNF manager is to manage and monitor the health of the VNF that runs across the virtual machine. The technical explanation in this chapter is found to be clever and conscious that helps the readers to understand the functionality of VNF along with its working principle in a systematic manner [3]. The need for utilising NFV with SDN has also been underlined in this chapter and all the relevant topics associated with NFV are being addressed.

Chapter 8: SDN in the Data Centre

Open Networking Operating System (ONOS) is considered as one of the leading "open-source carrier-grade SDN Controller" used to build next-generation “NFV or SDN networks”. It is found to be widely utilised and it can be utilised across the globe in the production network. Chapter 13 of the selected book has underlined a detailed evaluation of the SDN Open Source as well as the open-source network environment. The chapter also underlines that investment in the different other protocols such, as NETCONF and BGP is required to accomplish the goals associated with SDN [3]. The technical terminology utilised in this chapter is found to be clear and easy to understand by the readers. Each of the technical explanations has been provided through graphical and pictorial representations that help the readers to effectively understand the concept of open source in SDN.

Similar perspective has been identified in other sources, where it was mentioned that the concept of open-source indicates that source code of a program or software can be accessible publicly. While the growing dependency on the internet, the demands for the reworking of different source codes have enhanced. In this regard, when specific source code of a program or software is accessible publicly, then people can easily share, view, learn, or modify that particular program or software when they require it [9].

After reviewing the mentioned chapter, readers can gain a clear view of the way open source SDN helps to manage and synchronously control network activities.

After reviewing the earlier chapter from the selected book, it is identified that SDN illustrates a specific architectural concept that separates the forwarding plane and networking plane, aiming to improve and simplify the network control. SDN is found to be highly agile and flexible in terms of adapting to the growing and changing requirements of networking that in turn helps to maintain network agility and automation. It is identified that open connectivity, programmable, centrally managed, and agile are found to be key features associated with SDN.

It is identified that in the future, the concept of “software-defined mobile networking (SDMN)” will enable the protocol and design of the mobile networks to be managed by software. In addition to this, the benefit of SDN WAN will help to reduce the costs through halting the usage of different expensive leased lines along with managing the networks instead of utilising internet connection. Similar aspects are found to be highlighted in the selected book, where it clearly underlines the working principle of SDN along with its future aspects that would help to improve and manage networks in a systematic manner [3]. In the mentioned chapter, SDN futures along with their related topics are being addressed with the help of pictorial representations. The technical explanation helps the readers to understand the principle of SDN efficiently. The mentioned book also highlights the SDN provide and will provide opportunities to the users by enabling them to visualise the entire network with the help of a specific centralised source that simplifies management and provisioning processes. A comprehensive discussion is being made in this chapter that forms strength to the book as well as chapter enabling readers to gain a clear insight about the networking technologies along with SDN principles.

Chapter 10: Network Functions Virtualization

In today's era, the computer has become one of the integral parts of every business section across the world. The growing demand and acceptance of computers have enabled users or people to accomplish their personal as well as professional goals effectively. It is identified that it has become important for people to understand and gain knowledge regarding networking technology to manage and control network activities effectively to prevent any kind of computer network-related challenges. After reviewing the selected book, I have learned about the concept along with the utility of SDN across the computer network. SDN is considered as the systematic approach for network management that helps programmatically and dynamic network configuration for improving the overall network performance. In this regard, from chapter 4 I have gained clear insight into the concept and the characteristics of SDN. With the help of the graphical and pictorial representation, I have identified the way SDN helps to manage and control the activities over the computer network.

On the other hand, SDN is found to be interlinked with the concept of OpenFlow networking protocol. The key reason behind this statement is that OpenFlow is considered as the specific standard within SDN architecture. This protocol is found to illustrate the way communication is being established between the network agent and SDN controller. After reviewing chapter 5 of the aforementioned book, I have gained knowledge regarding the OpenFlow concept along with the related networking concept associated with it.

On the other hand, SDN is considered as the emerging architecture networking technology concept, it has the capability to bring advantages of network-wide analytic visibility along with control with the help of a simple dashboard [14]. However, after reviewing chapter 8, regarding SDN within a data centre, I have only come to know about the working principle of SDN in a data centre without understanding its accurate features or benefits. I have gained knowledge about the way SDN works in a data centre. The content in this chapter is found to be referenced accurately that partially helps to understand the principle of SDN in the data centre. In contrast, I have found the benefits of SDN along with its utility in different business networks in different secondary sources where it was clearly mentioned about the SDN network approaches in relation to network management.

In addition to this, chapters 10, 13, and 15 helped me to understand the future aspect of SDN along with its probable benefits to manage the network activities in a systematic and accurate manner.

Chapter 13: SDN Open Source

SDN has been disrupting the global networking industry for the past few decades as it helps to instantiate and automates the network state within a highly dynamic and scaled cloud environment. It is identified that application of SDN within data centres span from the Service Chaining, IaaS (Information-as-a-Service), PaaS (Platform-as-a-Service) to hybrid cloud environments, Datacenter Interconnect and NFV respectively. In order to analyse or underline the effectiveness of a specific book, purpose, usefulness, accuracy, and objectivity is required to be considered. In the context of the present selected book, it is identified that the author provides a detailed illustration of the principle and concept of networking technologies along with the principle of SDN. The working principle of SDN has also been mentioned in the book that helps to analyse the way existing and future application of SDN has been identified clearly. In addition to this, reading each of the mentioned chapters serves as beneficial to understand the topic along with its relevance to the real-world environment efficiently.

In case it is required to deploy SDN in the data centre based on the information and knowledge obtained from the aforementioned book, then it can be mentioned that it would be reliable and secure to establish connection over the network. After reviewing the information on the selected book, it can be mentioned that deploying SDN architecture would enhance the network performance as compared to non-SDN solutions. The key reason behind this statement is that SDN is found to be associated with key features such as flexibility and agility that would help to manage and securely control network activities.

In the context of the selected book that was published in 2016, the content that can be included in the new edition of the aforementioned book that was published in 2017 is real-world applications of SDN, IP Mobility Management, Domain 4, and others. The key reason behind this statement is that SDN is a new and emerging network technology concept, which is associated with a wider area of study or domain that requires it to be understood to utilise the benefits of SDN appropriately. In addition to this, including these mentioned topics in the new edition book will help the readers to obtain an overview of the future aspect of SDN deployment, which is found to be omitted to a certain extent in the considered book.

Conclusion

Based on the overall discussion, it can be articulated that network technologies allow users to share ideas, thoughts, and information easily and conveniently. With the growing dependency on the internet and computer, networking technologies allow users to accomplish their both personal and professional activities efficiently. After reviewing the mentioned book “Software Defined Networks: A Comprehensive Approach”, it is seen that SDN is a networking architecture that helps to tackle, manage, and control network activities in a cloud environment. Each of the mentioned chapters provides an in-depth overview of the working principle of SDN. On the other hand, the identified content can be included in the new edition of the book so that the concept of SDN along with its principal can be expanded into future perspectives.

References

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R. Amin, M. Reisslein and N. Shah, "Hybrid SDN Networks: A Survey of Existing Approaches", IEEE Communications Surveys & Tutorials, vol. 20, no. 4, pp. 3259-3306, 2018.

A. Aliyu, A. Aneiba, M. Patwary and P. Bull, "A trust management framework for Software Defined Network (SDN) controller and network applications", Computer Networks, vol. 181, p. 107421, 2020.

Z. Shah, "Mitigating TCP Incast Issue in Cloud Data Centres using Software-Defined Networking (SDN): A Survey", KSII Transactions on Internet and Information Systems, vol. 12, no. 11, 2018.

B. Ahmed, N. Ahmed, A. Malik, M. Jafri and T. Hafeez, "Fingerprinting SDN Policy Parameters: An Empirical Study", IEEE Access, vol. 8, pp. 142379-142392, 2020.

Y. Zhang et al., "Internet of radio and light: 5G building network radio and edge architecture", Intelligent and Converged Networks, vol. 1, no. 1, pp. 37-57, 2020.

P. Goransson, C. Black and T. Culver, Software defined networks. Cambridge, MA: Elsevier Science, 2017.

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