Welcome!

Machine Learning Authors: William Schmarzo, Elizabeth White, Liz McMillan, Pat Romanski, James Carlini

Related Topics: Containers Expo Blog, @CloudExpo, SDN Journal

Containers Expo Blog: Blog Post

Evaluating NFV and SDN: Key Considerations | @CloudExpo #SDN #DataCenter #Virtualization

Implementing NFV & SDN into modern enterprise networks is crucial to keeping pace with an ever-changing & developing industry

Evaluating NFV and SDN: Key Considerations

Making informed network investment decisions about emerging technologies such as network function virtualization (NFV) and software-defined networking (SDN) can help evolve the network to keep pace with the innovations of the devices and people it's connecting. As you work with business leaders to make decisions about upgrading your infrastructure with these networking developments, it's important to understand the similarities, differences, and benefits of dual NFV and SDN implementation.

With their ability to offer a new way to design, deploy, and manage the network and its services, NFV and SDN should be incorporated into modern enterprise networks and carrier infrastructures. However, lack of knowledge about these technologies can result in poor networking investments and missed opportunities to experience the benefits of each. While they hold similar principles, and benefit virtual environments overall, NFV and SDN possess distinctive characteristics that make them both individually important to successfully managing the network and its services.

NFV vs. SDN: Similarities and Differences
At a very basic level, software-defined networking is the practice of separating the control panel of a network from the data plane that forwards network traffic and the centralization of control to provide instructions to the infrastructure. When implemented effectively, this separation creates a centrally controlled, managed, and programmable distributed network, and fosters more efficient orchestration and automation of network services, agility and flexibility, network flow, and overall innovation. This ultimately detaches the network from the underlying hardware, enabling the network to integrate with and support virtualized data centers.

On the flip side, NFV virtualizes network functions and optimizes the network services themselves; the implementation of network functions in software allows the network to benefit from virtualized data center technology by eliminating the need for physical proprietary pieces of hardware. Placing these virtual appliances in a hypervisor environment can create a centrally programmable infrastructure that costs less to maintain and support. NFV also improves reliability because misconfiguration and operator errors become less prevalent.

Both technologies are intended to advance a software-based approach to networking and develop more agile, scalable, and innovative networks that better meet a business's overall IT objectives. As such, NFV and SDN serve many of the same purposes. Both strive to move functionality to software; utilize commodity servers and switches, as opposed to proprietary appliances; leverage application program interfaces (APIs); encourage more streamlined orchestration, virtualization, and automation of network services; and help operators manage rapid demand growth while reducing capital and operational expenditures (CAPEX and OPEX). However, their specific varying characteristics make them most effective when implemented together.

NFV and SDN: Better Together
As evidenced by the above, SDN and NFV both serve specific purposes in establishing an efficient virtual network, but their principles largely overlap with one another; while not interdependent, SDN and NFV complement each other and as such should be implemented together to achieve the best results. SDN provides network automation that fosters policy-based decisions to orchestrate the direction of network traffic, while NFV focuses on the services, capabilities, and virtualized environments. SDN and NFV offer new ways for data centers to manage their IT infrastructures. SDN allows users to program network layers, separating the data plane from the control plane, while NFV enables agile placement of networking services when and where needed. By enabling this level of programmability, SDN and NFV technologies enable users to optimize their network resources, increase network agility, service innovation, accelerate service time-to-market, extract business intelligence and ultimately establish dynamic, service-driven virtual networks. SDN and NFV are influencing the convergence of IT, data center, and telecommunications and giving data center managers the flexibility and scalability to anticipate changing market demands and stay ahead of customer expectations.

Best Practices for Working with NFV and SDN
When considering transitioning to a dynamic data center architecture in which you may leverage one or both of these software-driven strategies, consider using these best practices for successful implementation. This is not an exhaustive list, but can help you get started:

  • Consider your goals: Discuss and decide the specific functionality you need from each of the two network services solutions.
  • Know your business case: Have the knowledgebase necessary to effectively explain why your company should implement SDN and NFV. Are you providing services that require high availability? Are there certain applications that you're directing high volume traffic to? It's important to know the answers to these types of questions to ensure you're getting both financial drivers and IT pros on board for a successful implementation. To that end, the ability to translate the impact an SDN or NFV implementation will have on your business's bottom line and overall objectives (read: go beyond the technical detail) will go a long way towards greasing the wheels for future adoption.
  • Integrate into your existing infrastructure: As is often the case with new technologies, integrating NFV/SDN into existing technologies-and adoption overall-is one of the biggest hurdles to implementation. To clear this hurdle, it is important to evaluate a product in a test environment that closely simulates production and employ monitoring as a discipline. Basic monitoring principles applied in the testing and implementation phases of SDN/NFV adoption ensure you have an established baseline of network performance and health to better understand how SDN/NFV is impacting your infrastructure.
  • Choose your vendor wisely: When making this decision, select a trusted vendor who can help you navigate the deployment and certification challenges, while still understanding if their recommendations are in alignment with your own long-term business goals. As the NFV space matures, a plethora of vendors offer NFV-based wares and services, including AT&T®, Cisco Systems®, Dell®, Citrix®, Microsoft®, Oracle®, Verizon®, Brocade®, Juniper®, and more.

Maintain Relevancy in an Age of Innovation
Implementing NFV and SDN into modern enterprise networks and carrier infrastructures is crucial to keeping pace with an ever-changing and developing industry. However, as with any new technology adoption, taking the time to consider the key factors of the two networking developments before deploying is critical. As you make the decision to adopt these technologies, it's important to be able to communicate to business and IT leaders and decision makers the benefits of NFV and SDN and their importance to succeeding in a modern IT environment, in addition to leveraging implementation best practices to help ensure a successful adoption. While these developing technologies may seem like a jumble of acronyms, learning the key components of each will help you keep up in this age of innovation.

More Stories By Destiny Bertucci

Destiny Bertucci is a Head Geek at SolarWinds, and is a Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA), CIW Masters, INFOSEC, MCITP SQL and SolarWinds Certified Professional. Her 15 years of network management experience spans healthcare and application engineering, including over nine years as SolarWinds Senior Application Engineer.

After starting her networking career in Vo-tech CCNA/Security+ and working as consultant, Bertucci decided to apply her experience using SolarWinds tools in her everyday life to grow with the tools. Certifications and degrees followed, including database development and INFOSEC, with more in the works. Customizing SolarWinds products while working on setups and performance broadened her knowledge across networking, systems, virtualization, security, and databases.

Bertucci began her IT career in 2001 as a networking consultant before joining SolarWinds to help grow the tools she had come to rely on. She boasts a deep knowledge of the complete SolarWinds product line, including customization, leading to expertise across network, security, application, server, virtualization and database management.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


@CloudExpo Stories
"MobiDev is a software development company and we do complex, custom software development for everybody from entrepreneurs to large enterprises," explained Alan Winters, U.S. Head of Business Development at MobiDev, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Carl J. Levine, Senior Technical Evangelist for NS1, will objectively discuss how DNS is used to solve Digital Transformation challenges in large SaaS applications, CDNs, AdTech platforms, and other demanding use cases. Carl J. Levine is the Senior Technical Evangelist for NS1. A veteran of the Internet Infrastructure space, he has over a decade of experience with startups, networking protocols and Internet infrastructure, combined with the unique ability to it...
Vulnerability management is vital for large companies that need to secure containers across thousands of hosts, but many struggle to understand how exposed they are when they discover a new high security vulnerability. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, John Morello, CTO of Twistlock, addressed this pressing concern by introducing the concept of the “Vulnerability Risk Tree API,” which brings all the data together in a simple REST endpoint, allowing companies to easily grasp the severity of the ...
Agile has finally jumped the technology shark, expanding outside the software world. Enterprises are now increasingly adopting Agile practices across their organizations in order to successfully navigate the disruptive waters that threaten to drown them. In our quest for establishing change as a core competency in our organizations, this business-centric notion of Agile is an essential component of Agile Digital Transformation. In the years since the publication of the Agile Manifesto, the conn...
In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, James Henry, Co-CEO/CTO of Calgary Scientific Inc., introduced you to the challenges, solutions and benefits of training AI systems to solve visual problems with an emphasis on improving AIs with continuous training in the field. He explored applications in several industries and discussed technologies that allow the deployment of advanced visualization solutions to the cloud.
Enterprises are adopting Kubernetes to accelerate the development and the delivery of cloud-native applications. However, sharing a Kubernetes cluster between members of the same team can be challenging. And, sharing clusters across multiple teams is even harder. Kubernetes offers several constructs to help implement segmentation and isolation. However, these primitives can be complex to understand and apply. As a result, it’s becoming common for enterprises to end up with several clusters. Thi...
While some developers care passionately about how data centers and clouds are architected, for most, it is only the end result that matters. To the majority of companies, technology exists to solve a business problem, and only delivers value when it is solving that problem. 2017 brings the mainstream adoption of containers for production workloads. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Ben McCormack, VP of Operations at Evernote, discussed how data centers of the future will be managed, how the p...
"NetApp is known as a data management leader but we do a lot more than just data management on-prem with the data centers of our customers. We're also big in the hybrid cloud," explained Wes Talbert, Principal Architect at NetApp, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
"Space Monkey by Vivent Smart Home is a product that is a distributed cloud-based edge storage network. Vivent Smart Home, our parent company, is a smart home provider that places a lot of hard drives across homes in North America," explained JT Olds, Director of Engineering, and Brandon Crowfeather, Product Manager, at Vivint Smart Home, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
The question before companies today is not whether to become intelligent, it’s a question of how and how fast. The key is to adopt and deploy an intelligent application strategy while simultaneously preparing to scale that intelligence. In her session at 21st Cloud Expo, Sangeeta Chakraborty, Chief Customer Officer at Ayasdi, provided a tactical framework to become a truly intelligent enterprise, including how to identify the right applications for AI, how to build a Center of Excellence to oper...
"IBM is really all in on blockchain. We take a look at sort of the history of blockchain ledger technologies. It started out with bitcoin, Ethereum, and IBM evaluated these particular blockchain technologies and found they were anonymous and permissionless and that many companies were looking for permissioned blockchain," stated René Bostic, Technical VP of the IBM Cloud Unit in North America, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Conventi...
Coca-Cola’s Google powered digital signage system lays the groundwork for a more valuable connection between Coke and its customers. Digital signs pair software with high-resolution displays so that a message can be changed instantly based on what the operator wants to communicate or sell. In their Day 3 Keynote at 21st Cloud Expo, Greg Chambers, Global Group Director, Digital Innovation, Coca-Cola, and Vidya Nagarajan, a Senior Product Manager at Google, discussed how from store operations and ...
"Infoblox does DNS, DHCP and IP address management for not only enterprise networks but cloud networks as well. Customers are looking for a single platform that can extend not only in their private enterprise environment but private cloud, public cloud, tracking all the IP space and everything that is going on in that environment," explained Steve Salo, Principal Systems Engineer at Infoblox, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Conventio...
Large industrial manufacturing organizations are adopting the agile principles of cloud software companies. The industrial manufacturing development process has not scaled over time. Now that design CAD teams are geographically distributed, centralizing their work is key. With large multi-gigabyte projects, outdated tools have stifled industrial team agility, time-to-market milestones, and impacted P&L stakeholders.
"ZeroStack is a startup in Silicon Valley. We're solving a very interesting problem around bringing public cloud convenience with private cloud control for enterprises and mid-size companies," explained Kamesh Pemmaraju, VP of Product Management at ZeroStack, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
"We're focused on how to get some of the attributes that you would expect from an Amazon, Azure, Google, and doing that on-prem. We believe today that you can actually get those types of things done with certain architectures available in the market today," explained Steve Conner, VP of Sales at Cloudistics, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
"Codigm is based on the cloud and we are here to explore marketing opportunities in America. Our mission is to make an ecosystem of the SW environment that anyone can understand, learn, teach, and develop the SW on the cloud," explained Sung Tae Ryu, CEO of Codigm, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Data scientists must access high-performance computing resources across a wide-area network. To achieve cloud-based HPC visualization, researchers must transfer datasets and visualization results efficiently. HPC clusters now compute GPU-accelerated visualization in the cloud cluster. To efficiently display results remotely, a high-performance, low-latency protocol transfers the display from the cluster to a remote desktop. Further, tools to easily mount remote datasets and efficiently transfer...
High-velocity engineering teams are applying not only continuous delivery processes, but also lessons in experimentation from established leaders like Amazon, Netflix, and Facebook. These companies have made experimentation a foundation for their release processes, allowing them to try out major feature releases and redesigns within smaller groups before making them broadly available. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Brian Lucas, Senior Staff Engineer at Optimizely, discussed how by using ne...
Gemini is Yahoo’s native and search advertising platform. To ensure the quality of a complex distributed system that spans multiple products and components and across various desktop websites and mobile app and web experiences – both Yahoo owned and operated and third-party syndication (supply), with complex interaction with more than a billion users and numerous advertisers globally (demand) – it becomes imperative to automate a set of end-to-end tests 24x7 to detect bugs and regression. In th...