Difference between SDN and NFV

1. Software Defined Networking (SDN) :
SDN is a networking architecture which aims to improve overall network performance and make networks agile and flexible by enabling a dynamic and programmatically efficient network configuration. SDN is a technology that separates control plane management of network devices from underlying data plane that forwards network traffic in order to enable more automated provisioning and policy-based management of network resources.

Basically, SDN makes network programmable by separating system that is going to decide that where should traffic be sent i.e., control plane from underlying system that pushes packets of data to a particular destinations i.e., data plane. SDN offer its users a way to managed network services with help of software that makes networks centrally programmable, and allowing it for faster configuration. Software Defined Networking enables enterprises and service providers to respond quickly if business needs and requirements are changing which ultimately improves network control.

2. Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) :
NFV is a network architecture which aims to accelerate service deployment for network operators and reduce cost by separating functions like firewall or encryption from dedicated hardware and moving them to virtual servers, collapsing various functions into a physical server, which ultimately reduces overall cost. NFV allows various network operators to implement network policy without being taken care of where to place functions in network and how to route traffic through these functions.

It is a way to virtualize network services, such as routers, firewalls, and load balances, that have traditionally been run on computer hardware whose interface is controlled by proprietor (proprietary hardware) and allows network services to be hosted on virtual machines. Virtual machines have a hypervisor, called a virtual machine manager, by which multiple operating systems can share a single hardware processor. It will deliver high-performance networks which have greater scalability, elasticity, and adaptability at low costs as compared to those networks which are built from traditional networking equipment. So it comes to overcome drawback of traditional, custom-designed network equipment and reduces need for dedicated or proprietary hardware to deploy and manage networks.

Difference between SDN and NFV :

SDN architecture mainly focuses on data centers. NFV is targeted at service providers or operators.
SDN separates control plane and data forwarding plane by centralizing control and programmability of network. NFV helps service providers or operators to virtualize functions like load balancing, routing, and policy management by transferring network functions from dedicated appliances to virtual servers.
SDN uses OpenFlow as a communication protocol. There is no protocol determined yet for NFV.
SDN supports Open Networking Foundation. NFV is driven by ETSI NFV Working group.
Various enterprise networking software and hardware vendors are initiative supporters of SDN. Telecom service providers or operators are prime initiative supporters of NFV.
Corporate IT act as a Business initiator for SDN. Service providers or operators act as a Business initiator for NFV.
SDN applications run on industry-standard servers or switches. NFV applications run on industry-standard servers.
SDN reduces cost of network because now there is no need of expensive switches & routers. NFV increases scalability and agility as well as speed up time-to-market as it dynamically allot hardware a level of capacity to network functions needed at a particular time.
Application of SDN:

  • Networking
  • Cloud orchestration
Application of NFV:

  • Routers, firewalls, gateways
  • WAN accelerators
  • SLA assurance
  • Video Servers
  • Content Delivery Networks (CDN)

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