[What Is] SDN & NFV

by Filip Čúzy | Leave us your feedback on this post!

For newcomers to our blog – welcome to a series on explanations from the world of software development. Today, we will be looking at what software-defined networking is – what it stands for, it’s past, present, future – and more.

What is SDN – Software Defined Networking?

Networks can exponentially scale and require around the clock troubleshooting, in case something goes wrong – which always can. Software-Defined Networking is a concept of decluttering enterprises of physical network devices and replacing them with software. The goal is to improve the traditional network management and ease the entire process by removing pricey, easily obsolete hardware and replace it with their virtualized counterparts.

The core component is the control plane, which encompasses one (or several) controllers, like OpenDaylight. This makes centralization of the network a breeze and provides an overview of its entirety. The main benefits of utilizing SDN are:

  • Centralization
  • Open Standards
  • Scheduling

Most network admins can relate to the feeling when you have to manage multiple network devices separately, with different ones requiring proprietary software and making your network a decentralized mess. Utilizing SDN enables you to make use of a network controller and centralize the management, security, and other aspects of your network in one place.

Network topologies enable full control of the network flow. Bandwidth can be managed to go where it needs, but it does not end there – network resources, in general, can be secured, managed, and optimized, in order to accommodate current needs. Scheduling or programmability is what differs software-defined networking from a traditional network approach.

Open standards let you know, that you do not have to rely on one hardware provider, with vendor-specific protocols and devices. Projects, such as OpenDaylight, which has been around since 2013, with contributions from major companies like Orange, RedHat, but with leading contributions from Being an open-source project, you can rely on the community of expert technicians on perfecting the solution with each commit or pull request.

You are also free to modify OpenDaylight yourself, but it gets easier with features from, commercial support, or training.

The idea of a software-defined network supposedly started at Stanford University, where researchers played with the idea of virtualizing the network. The idea was to virtualize the network by making the control plane and data plane two separate entities, independent of each other.

What is NFV – Network Function Virtualization?

On the other hand, NFV or Network Function Virtualization aims to replace hardware, which serves a specific purpose, with virtual network functions (Virtual Customer Premise Equipment – vCPE). Imagine getting rid of most proprietary hardware, the difficulty of upgrading each part, and making them more accessible, scalable, and centralized.

SDN & NFV go therefore hand-in-hand in most of the aspects covered, but mainly in the goal of virtualizing most parts of the network equipment or functions.

As for the future,’s mission is to bring enterprises closer to a complete SDN & NFV coverage, with training, support, and custom network software that will make the transition easier. Contact us today – the future of networking awaits.

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