Software defined networking (SDN) is a centralized approach to networking that utilizes application programming interfaces (APIs) and software-based controllers to interface with underlying network infrastructure and manage network traffic.
This software-based network management model differs from traditional models. Legacy models utilize hardware devices such as switches and routers to manage network traffic. Software defined networks can manage traditional hardware or a virtual network via software. They enable the rapid programming, management, and provisioning of networks.
In this guide, we explore leading SDN providers that are helping to shape this new and growing market. Clearly, software defined networking trends are changing with remarkable speed as this emerging sector finds adoption.
Also see: Top Networking Companies
What are the Benefits of SDN?
SDN is an architecture designed to make a network easier and more flexible to manage. The benefits of SDN include their ability to:
- Minimize complexity by decoupling the data and control planes, while making automation highly scalable and secure.
- Leverage open APIs to deploy services and applications quickly.
- Eradicate manual configuration, and manage and provision wide-area networks (WANs), campuses, and data centers.
- Centralize cloud automation, service delivery, monitoring, control, management, and configuration.
Also see: Top Managed Service Providers
Choosing an SDN Provider
SDN technology allows organizations to quickly and efficiently reconfigure and manage network resource usage by utilizing policy-based management and automated provisioning. Before selecting an SDN vendor, considerable homework is required – this is a highly complex product area and it’s very difficult to stay current with how quickly the technology is changing.
Visit SDN vendors’ respective websites, go through product catalogs, compare features and pricing plans, and scrutinize peer-to-peer reviews. Perhaps most important in understanding which SDN solution best meets your organizational needs, speak with each sales rep at length. Get a sense of:
- Does this SDN solution interoperate with your current legacy network? Or will it be a full replace?
- What is the vendor’s product road map? Are they expected to keep pace with change in the SDN market?
- What is the vendor’s strategy in relation to the cloud? After all, some or many of the various software elements you’ll be using will be cloud-based.
Also see: Developing a Cloud Modernization Strategy
Top Software Defined Networking Solutions
Cisco DNA Center
Cisco DNA Center is a robust management dashboard and network controller that ensures you spend less time managing your network and helps improve network performance. With Cisco DNA Center, your information technology team can quickly and intelligently respond to network changes and challenges.
- A consolidated dashboard for every fundamental management task simplifies the running of your network.
- Heat maps driven by artificial intelligence (AI) display a variety of data in addition to network coverage.
- Obtain insights into application experience, interference, and performance.
- For on-demand statistics, it uses packet capture.
- Offers guided remediation on the basis of AI-baselining.
- Classifies, authorizes, and identifies new endpoints and users.
- Group-based policies follow endpoints and users.
- With AI policy analytics, facilitate and demystify complex segmentation.
Cloud-Native Contrail Networking
Cloud-Native Contrail Networking (CN2) by Juniper Networks is a Kubernetes-native SDN solution that automates and secures numerous containerized application clusters and virtualized Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) into an integrated network.
- CN2 delivers hybrid-SDN for a consistent infrastructure-as-code and network operations (NetOps) model that is secure, simple, and open, permitting organizations to move to cloud-native in their own time.
- With CN2, you can extend Kubernetes to simplify development and operations (DevOps) and orchestrate containerized microservices with APIs and intent-based declarative provisioning.
- By adding automation for management and security through CN2, you can focus on delivering and developing technology services and products to customers rapidly.
- The cloud-native SDN solution automates the management and creation of virtualized networks to secure, isolate, and connect cloud services and workloads seamlessly across public and private clouds.
- CN2 delivers hybrid SDN orchestration for load balancing, Network Address Translation (NAT), security, routing, and virtualized switching.
- The cloud-native SDN solution upholds investments in existing orchestration platforms, processes, skills, and licenses.
Cradlepoint NetCloud Service
Cradlepoint NetCloud Service centralizes network management for lean IT. Features include management and orchestration, 5G and long-term evolution (LTE) connection management, wireless area network (WAN) edge routing and security services, Internet of Things (IoT) services, extensibility software development kit (SDK), and analytics and insights.
- Cradlepoint NetCloud Service is a subscription-based platform delivered through Cradlepoint 5G and LTE wireless edge routers and adapters to enable the seamless transition to a wireless WAN.
- Configure networks that can route traffic based on cellular data usage, application content, bandwidth usage, or preferred link to maximize uptime and availability.
- Ensure maximal application availability and quality with integrated software-defined WAN (SD-WAN), deployed at scale with the least disruption.
- The SDN solution eases network management by making it simple to understand and apply licenses, connect with customers, amass educational tools, upgrade software feature sets, and identify and push out software updates.
- Obtain insights into security data, network health, and applications through rich analytics.
- Available in simple dashboards and through actionable alerts, these analytics give you a complete picture of your network usage, applications, and wireless WAN.
- Access the feature-set from a mobile phone or tablet with the Cradlepoint NetCloud Service mobile application.
VMware NSX is a network virtualization and security platform that enables you to manage your entire network as a solitary entity from a single pane of glass. With VMware NSX, you can obtain network speed, agility, and security.
- VMware NSX reproduces your network model in software, so you can provision and create any network topology instantly and deliver critical applications and services simpler and quicker.
- Connect and protect applications across your container, data center, and multi-cloud infrastructure.
- The SDN vendor enables agility through automation. Run a complete L2-L7 stack in software with automated provisioning.
- Access powerful scale and flexibility.
- Deliver granular protection with micro-segmentation to the individual workload and network segmentation.
- Leverage intrusion detection and prevention systems (IDPS) and create context-aware security policies to defend against lateral threats.
- Manage consistent security and networking policies across public and private clouds from a single pane of glass.
- By consolidating security and networking functions on a solitary platform, the platform can enable low capital expenditure (CapEx) and operational expenditure (OpEx).
Also see: 9 Ways AI Can Help Improve Cloud Management
Tempered Airwall is purpose-built to safeguard critical infrastructure using an identity-based, zero trust protocol. Features include end-to-end encryption, identity-based policies, operational technology (OT) visibility, software-defined orchestration, and secure, anywhere connectivity.
- Tempered Airwall is based on Host Identity Protocol (HIP), a standard developed to fix the security flaws and lack of mobility of transmission control protocol/internet protocol (TCP/IP).
- Creates private overlay networks based on trusted cryptographic identities and encrypted tunnels to secure.
- The SDN vendor provides complete control over communications.
- Extensible, scalable, and simple policy management is available from a single pane of glass.
- Combine policy enforcement and secure communication with threat detection, correlation, and traffic visibility.
- Simple to deploy over any IP network for cloud applications and remote access.