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Software Defined Networking is a paradigm that separates control plane (brain or software) from the data plane (hardware) to simplify network management, by introducing:

  1. Centralized management (by decoupling control and data plane)
  2. Network programmability with APIs where network services and configurations are programmable (“software defined”) through access to the management plane via APIs
  3. Encourages use of virtualization in the data plane

 

SDN is a system that centralizes network resource management, so that administrators can manage traffic based on the need.

 

In the market, dominant players for SDN are Cisco (ACI) and VMware (NSX).

 

However, SDN comes with it’s own limitation. SDN, in itself, is not capable of configuration management, compliance and change management. In fact, security is a big challenge in SDN.

 

 

If you admire SDN solutions and want to implement it in your network, you need to address SDN's limitations first. You can use network automation solutions such as TrueSight Network Automation to manage SDN to overcome following challenges:

  1. Vulnerability Management: With SDN, new network security vulnerabilities arise, and it is very important to remediate these vulnerabilities, TrueSight Network Automation can help you to import vulnerabilities and to remediate vulnerabilities in one go.
  2. Compliance: Nowadays, compliancy is one of the mandate in most of the organizations, you will not get any exception for SDN devices either. You can use TrueSight Network Automation compliance engine to apply standards for regulatory and security rules such as SOX, PCI-DSS, HIPAA, NIST, DISA, and CIS.
  3. Configuration Management: It is important to maintain a golden copy of configuration for disaster recovery. You can implement a policy-based approach to configure SDN devices with templates based on best practices to simplify administration and ongoing maintenance.
  4. Change tracking mechanism: When network configuration changes are implemented, network engineers are required to document these changes in change management system. To automate the change tracking and documentation process, you can use TrueSight Network Automation to automatically create network change request in change management tool such as Remedy. After the change request is approved, the change is scheduled for execution in TrueSight Network Automation.

 

Not only this, automation tools give you a consistent way to seamlessly manage different networking technologies in your network and make the network audit ready.

 

TrueSight Network Automation already supports management of following SDN devices out of the box:

  1. VMWare NSX
  2. Cisco ACI

 

Also, you can develop your own device adapter if you would like to manage other SDN devices. You should be able to manage SDN devices in the same way as you used to manage your traditional devices without any overhead.

 

To summarize, SDN technology is prevailing in market and has it's own advantages, but you need an automation tools to complement the SDN technology and to manage network service delivery for multi-vendor infrastructure. You can consider leveraging TrueSight Network Automation for managing SDN devices without bothering about complexity which SDN devices bring with itself.

 

In case of any query or suggestion, feel free to comment in the section below.