SDNs and NFV are complementary and core components of modernized networks

The terms software defined networking (SDN) and network functions virtualization (NFV) are often used interchangeably, which is incorrect.  In a sense, the two are tied together as companies start using NFV as part of their SDN plans but that doesn’t have to be the case.

Enterprises could maintain their current network architecture and shift to NFV or they could roll out an SDN and never leverage the benefits of NFV, so it’s important to understand what each is and the benefits of both.

What is software-defined Networking

SDNs are a fundamentally different way to think about networks.  Technically, SDNs can be defined as the separation of the management, control and data-forwarding planes of networks.  Many people, including technical individuals read that definition and say, “So what?”, but the separation of these planes has a profound impact on networks and enables things that have never been done before.

Historically, management, control and data forwarding were tightly coupled together. This meant each network device such as a router or a switch needed to be configured independently, typically through a cryptic command line interface (CLI), which makes operating a network challenging. 

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