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8 Open Networking Terms To Know

Open networking is all the rage, but it covers a lot of ground. Get familiar with some of the basic terminology so you're not left in the dark.
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When you talk to people about the concept of "open networking," you're likely to get blank stares. Are you referring to network virtualization, software-defined networking (SDN), OpenFlow, or something completely different? Open networking is a very generic term that covers a great deal of territory.

For the most part, open networking has to do with SDN and virtualization technologies that are open source in nature. There are a few different organizations that revolve around open networking and help to build a forum where anyone interested in SDN can take part in the creation of open source protocols that facilitate the SDN architecture.

One organization -- the Open Networking Foundation -- took the approach of developing a new SDN protocol from the ground up. Compatible network switches could run this open source software on bare-metal hardware as opposed to proprietary software, which is often the case in traditional network environments today.

Another open networking group -- the European Telcommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) -- aimed to create open networking software that ran on top of proprietary hardware/software. That way, the entire network could be configured with an overlay network and hardware did not have to be replaced.

On the following pages, we'll discuss these organizations and point out common open networking terms that are frequently used in these types of discussions. Our goal is to get you familiar with the terminology to the point where you can carry on a conversation about open networking in general without getting confused by the topic.

And once you've read through the slides, let us know whether this helped to clarify the scope of open networking. Hopefully, together, we'll be able to sort out what does and does not fall under the category of open networking.

(Image: Geralt/Pixabay)

 

Andrew has well over a decade of enterprise networking under his belt through his consulting practice, which specializes in enterprise network architectures and datacenter build-outs and prior experience at organizations such as State Farm Insurance, United Airlines and the ... View Full Bio

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ClassC
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ClassC,
User Rank: Ninja
11/15/2015 | 7:31:43 PM
Re: ONUG

"...Most IT departments are finding that the easiest and most practical way to get into SDN -- is to implement it at the WAN edge first."

 

@afroehlich805    Couldn't agree more.  I think the natural evloution of the technology lends itself to work most effectly in an WAN environment first,  I suspect it will be decades before this type of technology is actively employed in local server rooms for instance.

ClassC
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ClassC,
User Rank: Ninja
11/15/2015 | 7:27:36 PM
Re: Complicated ?
@frankun    Agreed.  It is complicated, the concepts are coming slowly for me as well.
ClassC
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ClassC,
User Rank: Ninja
11/15/2015 | 7:26:25 PM
Open Networking Concepts and The Control Plane

I really enjoyed and learned a lot from this review and in most cases new information regarding SDN,   I especially like the explanation of the control plane, really to me the most interesting piece of the SDN puzzle.

frankun
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frankun,
User Rank: Apprentice
11/13/2015 | 5:37:00 AM
Complicated ?
That's interesting but a little complicated for me.

Thanks for the sharing anyway.
afroehlich805
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afroehlich805,
User Rank: Apprentice
11/9/2015 | 12:52:35 PM
Re: ONUG
Hi Marcia -- I'm not surprised that SD-WAN was such a huge topic at the Open Networking User Group event. Most IT departments are finding that the easiest and most practical way to get into SDN -- is to implement it at the WAN edge first.
MarciaNWC
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MarciaNWC,
User Rank: Strategist
11/5/2015 | 7:20:41 PM
ONUG
Thanks for this list Andrew. Like you say, open networking is a huge topic. There's another group, the Open Networking User Group, which held its fall event this week. I didn't attend, but judging from the vendor press releases I received, SD-WAN was a major focus at the conference.
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