Network Engineering

SDN and open source play important roles in helping achieve open networking, but they are definitely not the same thing.

SDN is often regarded as an architecture that decouples the control plane from the packet-forwarding (data) plane within the network. In this case, network configuration and management can be made from a central location instead of connecting every specific switch or server through the network. This allows enterprises and service providers to respond quickly to changing business requirements.

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One of the major components of SDN is the SDN controller. It communicates with applications through northbound application programming interfaces (APIs). While it communicates with switches or routers using southbound interfaces such as OpenFlow. Since the OpenFlow protocol is an example of a pervasive open source component of networking, some people hold that SDN is the same as open source software. Actually, most SDN architectures remain using proprietary or open source software on third-party or commodity hardware.

In addition, as stated, SDN allows for open networking. This makes some people consider that SDN is open source as well. Actually, SDN can be done in a more limited environment without open networking, let alone open networking is not necessarily open source.

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