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Understanding the Relation between Open Flow and SDN Switch?

SDN or Software defined network has evolved as the leading approach for transforming the complete networking ecosystem. In SDN Switch, OpenFlow is the most widely used protocols that are responsible for the communication between the Controller and the switches.

The first characteristic communication interface between the controller and forwarding layers of SDN architecture is known as OpenFlow. It is an open standard that enables administrators and examiners to run experimental protocols for every day networking. It allows direct access to forwarding plane network devices such as Ethernet switches, routers, and wireless access points both physical and virtual. It serves as a standard to run experiments, without requiring vendors to expose the internal workings of their network devices. This technology is currently being employed by major vendors with commercially available OpenFlow-enabled switches.

The OpenFlow-based SDN Switch technology enables IT to adapt the network to ever-changing business needs, dynamic nature of today's applications, address the high-bandwidth, and significantly reduce management and operations complexity.

How does OpenFlow work?

In case of the SDN architecture, Open Flow works as a set of specifications maintained by the ONF i.e. Open Networking Forum. At the center of these specifications, there is the abstract packet processing machine, known as Switch, which processes packets using a combination of the packet content and switch configuration.

A protocol is defined by operating and manipulating the configuration of the switch and its events. At the final point, the controller manages the configuration state of many switches and respond to the events.

In a classical router or switch, the packet forwarding of data with the highest level routing decisions takes place in the same application. However, the OpenFlow Switch works to separate these two functions.

The portion of data path will dwell on the switch, while all the routing decisions are moved on a  separate controller. Therefore, the controller and the OpenFlow Switch communicate via the OpenFlow protocol. This protocol send and receive messages, including modify-forwarding-table, and get-stats and packet-received, send-packet-out.

Its data path presents a clean flow table generalization.  Each entry in the table contains a set of packet fields to match an action. When it receives a packet for which it has no matching entries, it sends this packet to the controller. Then controller decides the respond towards this packet. It can either drop the packet, or can add a flow entry to it directing the switch.

How OpenFlow is related to SDN?

An SDN Controller in the brains of the network that passes the information to switches and routers via southbound APIs and the applications. The first software-defined networking standards are the OpenFlow. It originally defined as communication protocol in SDN environments. It helps any industry to adapt better to changing business requirements.

As an organization set up more SDN Switch vendors networks, then SDN Controllers have to use the common application interface like OpenFlow and open virtual switch database.

To work in an OpenFlow environment, any device have to communicate with the SDN Controller that support the OpenFlow protocol. It allows network administrators to partition traffic, control flows for optimal performanceFree Web Content, and start testing new configurations and applications.

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I'm a certified networking associate with diverse knowledge in switching and routing. Utilizing SDN switch technology is very beneficial owing to its defined communication protocol. It helps any industry to adapt better with changing business requirements.

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