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--quote "ONF White Paper"--
Traditional network architectures are ill-suited to meet the requirements of today's enterprises, carriers, and end users. Thanks to a broad industry effort spearheaded by the Open Networking Foundation (ONF), Software- Defined Networking (SDN) is transforming networking architecture.
SDN is a dynamic and flexible network architecture that protects existing investments while future-proofing the network. With SDN, today's static network can evolve into an extensible service delivery platform capable of responding rapidly to changing business, end-user, and market needs.
Software Defined Networking (SDN) is an emerging network architecture where network control is decoupled from forwarding and is directly programmable.
With SDN, enterprises and carriers gain vendor-independent control over the entire network from a single logical point, which greatly simplifies the network design and operation. SDN also greatly simplifies the network devices themselves, since they no longer need to understand and process thousands of protocol standards but merely accept instructions from the SDN controllers.
OpenFlow currently is the only standardized SDN protocol that allows direct manipulation of the forwarding plane of network devices.
OpenFlow-based SDN architecture can integrate seamlessly with an enterprise or carrier's existing infrastructure and provide a simple migration path for those segments of the network that need SDN functionality the most.
For enterprises and carriers alike, SDN makes it possible for the network to be a competitive differentiator, not just an unavoidable cost center. OpenFlow-based SDN technologies enable IT to address the high-bandwidth, dynamic nature of today's applications, adapt the network to ever-changing business needs, and significantly reduce operations and management complexity.
By decoupling the network control and data planes, OpenFlow-based SDN architecture abstracts the underlying infrastructure from the applications that use it, allowing the network to become as programmable and manageable at scale as the computer infrastructure that it increasingly resembles. An SDN approach fosters network virtualization, enabling IT staff to manage their servers, applications, storage, and networks with a common approach and tool set. Whether in a carrier environment or enterprise data center and campus, SDN adoption can improve network manageability, scalability, and agility.