Interfaces, Attributes, and Use Cases: A Compass for SDN

CTN Issue: August 2014 IEEE Communications Magazine

Author(s): M. Jarschel, T. Zinner, T. Hossfeld, P. Tran-Gia, and W. Kellerer
This paper appears in: IEEE Communications Magazine
Issue Date: June 2014

The term Software Defined Networking (SDN) is present in most discussions about the future of communications technology, and it means different things to different people. Thus there isno consistent definition at this early stage of its technology development lifecycle. And this fragmented definition of SDN results in fragmented approaches to design,in mixing up the attributes of SDN with those of network virtualization (NFV), and in users not fully understanding the benefits of this technology in terms of cost savings, performance and time-to-market benefits.

The contribution of this article is a thorough definition of SDN and its interfaces as well as a list of its key attributes. Furthermore, the article introduces a SDN compass methodology for mapping of interfaces and attributes to SDN use cases is provided, highlighting the relevance of the interfaces and attributes for each scenario. Among the use cases looked at are:

  • Cloud Orchestration
  • Load Balancing
  • Routing/Forwarding
  • Network Management
  • Application Awareness

It is important to notice that the article outlines tool and a methodology labeled“SDN compass” that could be used to guide potential adopters of SDN on the decision-making process to assesswhether SDN is in fact the right technology for their specific use case.

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