Managing networks with OpenFlow


OpenFlow fixes many of the problems that networks have been lugging around since the first technical implementation of Ethernet. Thanks to OpenFlow, admins no longer consider their networks as a collection of various standalone devices that operate locally and each forward packets according to their own rules, but as a great whole, with the network devices acting as remotely controlled locks. This change in paradigm opens a door to new ideas. As probably the most common manifestation of SDN that is also used in commercial products, OpenFlow brings a breath of fresh air to the field of virtualization, adding flexibility to networks and fertile ground for many applications.

As so often happens, however, all that glitters is not gold. It still isn't clear whether OpenFlow is ready to serve as a replacement for conventional network infrastructure in large-scale, enterprise production environments.

One problem is that the rapid evolution of the OpenFlow specification means that hardware does not always support the full range of OpenFlow actions [7].

The Author

Marc Körner works as a research assistant at the CIT, Technical University of Berlin. He has been working with OpenFlow for more than three years and is currently finishing his thesis, which focuses on the integration of OpenFlow applications in data centers.

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