SDN Infrastructure
SDN vs NFV: What are the major differences?

SDN vs NFV: What are the major differences?


Organizations and enterprises worldwide are looking for more cost-effective, reliable, sustainable, and dynamic modes of computing day-by-day. The need for new architectures and infrastructures is skyrocketing.

Hence, new methods of computing get introduced each day. Companies and enterprises are expanding their horizons and finding different ways for foolproof networking because of the worldwide growth of users and surrounding competition.

What is SDN?

Software-defined networks (SDN) are another type of mode of computing. SDN refers to the new and upcoming system of networking. This infrastructure is not only manageable but is also adaptive and reliable.

It uses open-source APIs to manage and control the systems centrally. It gives a holistic approach to the already commonly used networking systems. This type of infrastructure helps run the whole underlying system in a centralized and composed fashion.

What is NFV?

NFV, referred to as Network Function Virtualization, uses the IT networks and building blocks into single pieces of virtualized blocks connected in the end.

Each block of the network system has different functions and gets virtualized together into a unit. These virtualized function blocks together make the entire network system called NFV.

How Does SDN Work?

SDN works based on network-defined architectures and uses open-source already programmable APIs. These APIs help in programming the network system more dynamically and managing its resources properly. It comprises four complex technology parts:

  1. Openness: SDN fosters a “vendor-neutral” environment, and the transparency of the applications comes from themselves. The open-source APIs help to improve interoperability. Intelligent design and its implementation make it open source and being able to be controlled by many vendors.
  2. Abstraction: Services running on an SDN get abstracted from the users while the approach remains hidden. They only focus on the end product and the usability of the applications.
  3.  Network Programmability: The software at the back-end of the application used by the open-source APIs helps the hardware interact with them reliably and efficiently. It enables end-to-end network programmability. This type of centralized approach, managing and working, becomes far easier.
  4. Centralize and intelligent control: SDN is the basis of a centralized program and function. It helps programs become a centralized and intelligence unit for the system. It works at the heart of a computing network. Businesses can become more reliable and efficient using some of these open-source resources.

Advantages of Software Defined Networks:

SDN is a primary choice because its many advantages differ from the more common usages of the more commonly used networking systems. Following are some advantages:

  • Agile: A SDN system is faster and more reliable than a basic computer network. The open-source libraries and APIs used in its design make it more helpful in enhancing the performance of such a system.
  • Cost-Effective: As most of the programmable interface of the SDN system comes from open-source APIs, it makes it economical in creating and design. The centralized approach helps in managing it efficiently.
  • Vendor-neutral: This is a significant help as it does not concern deployment issues and other factors like finding the best vendors for your needs. All the “grunt” work gets done by the system, which is centralized and easily manageable.
  • Easy configuration possible: SDN makes it much easier for managers and admins to configure their systems and make them more accurate easily. The APIs and pre-defined libraries help in this a lot.

A Software-Defined Network is also in demand because it provides more capacity and handles higher user traffic. The system is overall a fast, cost-effective, and adaptive approach to the more common network systems. You can also integrate it with cloud-based systems.

More and more organizations and enterprises shift towards cloud-based systems, making it a “must buy.”

How Does NFV Work:

The NFV architecture aligns with the principles of adaptability and interoperability, and we explain the basic thought process behind its working below.

The major components of an NFV infrastructure include:

  • VNFs: Software that generates network functions and apps and uses IP (Internet Protocol) for their working
  • Compute: The element of the AFVs that works with computing data and its functions
  • Storage: The part where the NFVs store their data and processes.
  • Networking is the final stage of the NFV architecture.

Advantages of NFV:

  1. Economical: The flexibility and vast usage of NFVs make them budget-friendly. They can even get used as an alternative for more expensive security software such as firewalls and VPNs.
  2. Improved scalability: NFVs enhance scalability and accommodate different networking needs. We can run them on a large scale and even on a small scale. They allow multi-user interactions and provide interfaces to over one user at a time.
  3. Reduced vendor lock-in: One of the main reasons that more and more organizations are shifting to NFVs as they provide scalable and adaptive resources. It makes hardware and vendor companies not get chained, making them vendor-neutral.
  4. Better communications: besides all this, NFVs also enhance networking by providing better communicational resources. They help improve the overall performance of a system.

SDN and NFVs are both very much alike and mostly work on the same premise. They are both cost-effective. Both leverage the concept of abstraction in their methods. Both allow users to interact with recourses and differ in some aspects. SDN is a complete entity managed by a centralized resource that helps better integrate the whole environment.

In contrast, NFVs are module-based and small functions, and modules get created along the way, which gets joined to work together. Using both SDN and NFVs helps companies and organizations better their enterprises.

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