Javier Guillermo – InFocus Blog | Dell EMC Services https://infocus.dellemc.com DELL EMC Global Services Blog Wed, 21 Feb 2018 14:18:07 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.2 Dell EMC Services Podcasts Javier Guillermo – InFocus Blog | Dell EMC Services clean episodic Javier Guillermo – InFocus Blog | Dell EMC Services casey.may@emc.com casey.may@emc.com (Javier Guillermo – InFocus Blog | Dell EMC Services) Dell EMC Services Podcasts Javier Guillermo – InFocus Blog | Dell EMC Services /wp-content/plugins/powerpress/rss_default.jpg https://infocus.dellemc.com Demystifying SDN: SDN via APIs https://infocus.dellemc.com/javier_guillermo/demystifying-sdn-sdn-via-apis/ https://infocus.dellemc.com/javier_guillermo/demystifying-sdn-sdn-via-apis/#respond Mon, 16 Oct 2017 09:00:52 +0000 https://infocus.dellemc.com/?p=32850 in my previous blog, I explained the basics of Software Defined Networking (SDN), how SDN has evolved to this point, the separation between the control plane and data plane, plus we named the three main flavors of SDN: Open SDN, SDN by APIs and SDN via overlays. We also covered the principles of the first […]

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in my previous blog, I explained the basics of Software Defined Networking (SDN), how SDN has evolved to this point, the separation between the control plane and data plane, plus we named the three main flavors of SDN: Open SDN, SDN by APIs and SDN via overlays. We also covered the principles of the first approach, Open SDN.

In this blog, I will cover the implementation of this technology via APIs, a preferred method used by traditional networking hardware companies.

SDN implementation via APIs refers to southbound APIs that configure and program the control plane active on the device. There are a number of legacy network device APIs in use that offer different degrees of control (SNMP, CLO, TL1, RADIUS, TR-069, etc.) and a number of newer ones (NETCONF/YANG, REST, XMPP, BGP-LS, etc.) that offer different degrees of control over the network devices, data plane, topology, etc., each having different advantages and disadvantages. I won’t cover them in depth in this blog post but I want to make sure we all understand one key difference between them and the Open SDN approach: OpenFlow is used to directly control the data plane, not just the configuration of the devices and the control plane.

SDN by APIs Overview

REST-API-LEGACY-API

 

Let’s start with some understanding on how network configuration and management is traditionally done. In the networking world of today, we still configure most devices though a Command Line Interface (CLI) by either connecting to the console of a device or through telnet/ssh of the device. Each device is then configured individually. That has been networking configuration 101 for more than 25 years.

The new SDN approach I covered in my previous blog has many technological and operational advantages, but it requires a company, institution or operator to replace old hardware for new hardware that supports the technology, and in some cases, new protocols like OpenFlow.

Obviously, no company is going to replace all of their hardware overnight, as it would require considerable expense, implementation and architecture challenges that, until resolved, could impact company operations. In addition, there would be plenty of non- technical issues, like employees knowing device X and networkOSY like the palm of their hands and not looking forward to the time it might take to learn new technology and processes.

When a company decides to transform to a software defined networking infrastructure, they may not get support from their existing Network hardware vendor, which may have been enjoying hefty margins in network hardware sales and not thrilled to push a technology that will make their expensive boxes replaceable for cheap vendor agnostic white boxes.

Architectural views of SDN by API

Architectural views of SDN by API

The left image shows an architecture view of a traditional network device (router, switch, etc.) with the software components and applications (Upper Rectangle) and hardware components (Lower Rectangle) such as ASIC (application specific integrated circuit for packet processing) and memory.

By adding a RESTful API interface we add an additional abstraction layer and upgrade legacy devices allowing to be controlled by an SDN controller using non OpenFlow standards.

SDN by API Vendors

Juniper Networks
We can argue that Juniper was one of the SDN pioneers in this area, through JunOS SDK, providing a rich set of tools for programmability and automation for all JunOS compatible devices. Some of the options available would allow you to control data plane packet processing, plus a wide variety of device functions. This SDK was created before SDN was popular, but as academia was already working on the SDN idea though Ethane back in 2007, perhaps Juniper was already looking to the SDN future back then. In present day, Juniper launched the SDN controller contrail, using NETCONF and XMPP protocls instead of OpenFlow.

Cisco Networks
We can’t talk about networking without talking about Cisco Networks. Cisco originally had its own proprietary program called Cisco onePK, consisting of a broad set of APIs that were proprietary for Cisco devices. Cisco now has two SDN-via-API controllers: the APIC-EM (Application Policy Infrastructure Controller-Enterprise Module) and the the APIC-DC (focused on Data center). Cisco is also implementing a new policy based protocol called OpFlex.

Arista
Arista Software Driven Cloud Networking (SDCN), combines the principles that made cloud computing the unstoppable force that it is: automation, self service provisioning, and linear scaling. Arista’s SDCN Is based around its API-centric definition of SDN and about the scaling of the existing control plane with different APIs.

OpenDaylight
Opendaylight is a bit of a hybrid, on one site it uses OpenFlow so we may be tempted to think it is purely an OpenSDN approach.. However the ODL controller also supports southbound APIs that program the legacy control plane on network devices, using plugins such as NETCONF and BGP-LS/PCE-P. There are different companies, for example, Fujitsu, that is developing its SDN Controller (Virtuora) based on OpenDaylight and no longer being Open Source.

Summary

SDN via APIs is a hybrid approach that will make the transition to the controller-based networking technology model more gradual and easier, especially for companies with a lot of legacy equipment or with close ties to specific proprietary networking vendors. Another plus is not having the centralized point of failure you may face in a pure OpenSDN. Compared to the other two approaches Tt ranks in-between for scale and performance..

On the negative side you won’t have support for Stateful Flow awareness or Deep packet Inspection plus it won’t escalate easily to mega data centers.

For additional information, please check part I of this series; Demystifying SDN: Open SDN Approach and view information on our just released Dell EMC NFV Ready Bundle for VMware.

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Demystifying SDN: Open SDN Approach https://infocus.dellemc.com/javier_guillermo/demystifying-software-defined-networking-open-sdn-approach/ https://infocus.dellemc.com/javier_guillermo/demystifying-software-defined-networking-open-sdn-approach/#comments Tue, 05 Sep 2017 09:00:17 +0000 https://infocus.dellemc.com/?p=32257 The joke goes around that the true meaning of Software Defined Networking (SDN) is “Still Don’t Know”.  In short, SDN is a technology that allows network administrators to no longer be reliant on static architecture of traditional hardware/networks, but freed to centrally and dynamically manage the network via open, programmatic interfaces.  This is accomplished by […]

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The joke goes around that the true meaning of Software Defined Networking (SDN) is “Still Don’t Know”.  In short, SDN is a technology that allows network administrators to no longer be reliant on static architecture of traditional hardware/networks, but freed to centrally and dynamically manage the network via open, programmatic interfaces.  This is accomplished by separating the control plane (the system that decides where the network traffic will go) from the data plane (the systems that forward the traffic onto their destination).

Software Defined Networking (SDN): Business Drivers

What’s driving the need to change from the transitional method of managing networks and move towards a SDN approach?  There are three key catalysts in the industry driving the need for network change as show in the graphic below.

SDN Business Drivers

Mobility, cloud, and IoT are three very real ways in which business is being digitally transformed and I will cover them in more detail in future blogs.

SDN, along with Network Function Virtualization (NFV) and other network virtualization technologies, are key to successfully transitioning to a data center that can adopt and deliver cloud solutions.  In this series of short blogs, I hope to give you some insights on topics important to better understanding SDN.

There are also three main ways to approach Software Defined Networking (SDN):

1. Open SDN

2. SDN by APIs

3. SDN by overlays

In this blog, I will be focusing on the Open SDN approach.  What is meant by Open SDN?  Both SDN and NFV technologies have a large open source community, committed to contributing to projects that promote open standards. As you see in the image below, separating the control and forwarding planes removes the controlling software from the device and onto a controller.  The device then handles the forwarding and data plane functions, while the controller handles the control plane functions.

Software Defined Networking_2

This approach tends to be focused around OpenFlow (OF), which is considered to be one of the first SDN standards, and allows a SDN controller to directly interact with network devices (routers, switches, etc.) as you see in the image below.  OF is just the protocol, so you could have Open SDN with other protocols if you choose.

This approach you see in the image below provides:

  • Simplified devices
  • A centralized controller
  • Enforcement of rules implemented by devices
  • Open environment for research and innovation
  • Interoperability
  • True network operating system
  • OF as the southbound standard protocol

Software Defined Networking_3

 

Check back for the next blog in the series where I will cover the SDN Approach by API.

Looking for more information on SDN and NFV? Check out NFV Operating Models – How to Mix Oil and Water (also known as IT Operations and Network Operations)

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