Everything you need to know about SDN Switches

Everything you need to know about SDN Switches
April 19, 2019 Harry Caesar
In Technology

Today, virtualization is one of the most significant networking trends. It has revolutionized the IT industry that works around data center and enterprise networks. Now, network is more agile and easy to work around than ever. You can work on a huge amount of data while managing numerous environments from a single controller only. With the flexibility that networks have to offer and the agility, multiple organizations are opting SDN as it utilized canned processes to distribute the network.

Software Defined Networking is a comparatively new technology especially designed to make network mobile and agile. That’s exactly why its popularity is growing day by day. Seeing the demand of SDN in the market, many people are questioning its importance and if it is necessary for them to use SDN switch for SDN network. Many individuals are also getting certifications like Cisco ICND1 certification and Cisco ICND2 certification to excel the use of this network.

To clear the air about SDN and SDN switches, we have decided to write an article covering the following points,

  1. What is SDN

  2. What are SDN switches and how are they different from traditional switches

  3. Benefits of SDN switch

  4. What are special SDN switch and why is it needed

Continue reading to find the answers if you have these questions in your mind.

What is SDN?

A Software defined networking system is made to design and control network’s agility and flexibility. The SDN system aims to enhance the control of a network by making service providers as well as the enterprises to quickly adhere to the changing business needs. To make it possible, a software defined networking system uses canned processes for network distribution. It does so by physically separating the network control plane, the forwarding plane, and the control plane.

For example, In SDN, a user can simultaneously program the network when he/she gets a requirement to build a tap. This will reduce the effort of building a network tap with the help of an appliance. SDN separates the control plane and make the network programmable by directing the network what goes where and by sending packets to destinations specified. SDN does this by using switches like OpenFlow that are programmed by an SDN controller.

What are SDN Switches and how are they different from traditional switches?

Traditional switches use manually configured hardware appliances. These appliances are programmed on the basis of their requirements and settings. This raises the high efficiency and individual’s expertise for network deployment as everything is linked. Also, it needs high maintenance and great supervision as well. These types of switches are also prone to human errors as everything is done manually.

While on the other hand, SDN switches offers centralized data distribution and control. It makes admins more efficient and flexible in managing a huge network easily by making it a single unit. SDN switches accelerate the service delivery by abstracting the data planes and control. These switches also enable provisioning agility for both virtual as well as physical devices.

This doesn’t only eliminate the need to update each and every device manually, but it also enables admins to manage and give out security information easily and evenly through a centralized control point across multiple sites. This process of easy control and distribution makes SDN a smarter choice as the whole process is simplified and management of the system and its security has become considerably effortless.

Also,SDN switches are designed to work on SDN systems and any traditional or Non-SDN switch will work independently of the network. Thus, it won’t be as effective as SDN switches

In short, SDN switches make it simpler to gather network usage data, find weaknesses and fix/encounter threats faster than traditional switches. SDN switches also helps security professionals in preventing malicious attacks way before they happen.

Benefits of SDN switch

The reason why SDN switches are a better choice over traditional switches is already explained. A centralized server that understands the network layout and is capable to take switching decisions on its own is not only efficient but also time saving. To make the importance of SDN choices even clearer, we have listed some of the well-known benefits of SDN switches below:

  • An SDN switch can navigate bulk traffic (non-critical) on routes that are longer and not completely utilized.

  • Initially, an SDN switch sends the first few packets to a firewall and as asoon the firewall accepts the flow, it frees the firewall. This removes the unwanted and extra load from the firewall to allow multi gigabyte datacenters to use firewall.

  • An SDN switch can easily balance load at high data rates by making a chunk of data and directing spearate flows to separate hosts by setting up of the initial flow.

  • In SDN switches, it is easier to isolate traffic without vLAN

  • Setting up a sniffer (Network Tap) is simple. As in SDN switches, the network can be programmed in way to send duplicate streams to the network monitoring device.

  • SDN switch also allows the designing of new services in software.

What are special SDN switch and why is it needed

Special SDN switches are not necessary to execute SDN system. SDN structures will adopt a wide range of strategies as they develop and change, and every innovation merchant will have an exceptional interpretation of how to actualize SDN. For instance, VMware, with its procurement of Nicira, will actualize SDN conventions in its Switch programming, which does not require specialized equipment or a controller. Numerous providers are putting forth explicit SDN controllers, for example, OpenFlow controllers offered by Big Switch, NEC, HP and IBM, and controllers that are not OpenFlow specified and utilize different conventions.


With the introduction of Software Defined Networking environment, network performance and network management has become more easy, simple, agile, and flexible. SDN switch utilizing conventions like OpenFlow well meets the prerequisites of system virtualization in an open systems administration condition. Its wide arrangement in various system frameworks isn’t difficult to find within a reasonable time-frame.

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