Jun 03, 2013

Is OpenFlow and SDN the same thing?

What’s the difference between OpenFlow and SDN (Software Defined Networking)? Are they two terms for the same thing?

SDN is not OpenFlow, but OpenFlow is a real disruption

"With all the excitement around software-defined networking, most people forget that OpenFlow, which helped jump start that conversation, is more than just virtualization. It’s the creation of a common hardware platform that will commoditize the router."

No. “OpenFlow is a protocol that uses APIs (application programming interfaces) to configure the switches in a network. SDN is software that gives network administrators a console interface where they can provision, manage, and break down networks without having to physically set up network switches and devices.” - ZDnet

Christopher Nerney

No, but they are related. From the Open Networking Foundation (which manages the definition and marketing of both SDN and OpenFlow:


Software-Defined Networking (SDN) is an emerging architecture that is dynamic, manageable, cost-effective, and adaptable, making it ideal for the high-bandwidth, dynamic nature of today's applications. This architecture decouples the network control and forwarding functions enabling the network control to become directly programmable and the underlying infrastructure to be abstracted for applications and network services. The OpenFlow protocol is a foundational element for building SDN solutions. ...


 As part of its quest to make SDN a commercial reality that meets customer needs, ONF is developing open standards such as the OpenFlow Standard and the OpenFlow Configuration and Management Protocol Standard. The OpenFlow Standard is the first and only vendor-neutral standard communications interface defined between the control and forwarding layers of an SDN architecture.



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