SDN (Software Defined Networks) allows network administrators to have programmable central control of network traffic without requiring physical access to the network’s hardware devices. As Network Management specialists, we are continuously monitoring the evolution of SDN and its impact on the networks and their management.
SDN will change the way the networks function. In simple terms, SDN decouples the system that makes decisions about where traffic is sent (the control plane) from the underlying system that forwards traffic to the selected destination (the data plane).
How does this paradigm shift impact the network management application/architecture? That won’t be clear until the following questions are answered:
- Is there a standard North Bound APIs to communicate with the controllers?
- How quickly will service providers replace their network with open-flow compliant devices?
Until then, there are third-party solutions to manage SDN-compliant networks. For example, NOCVue has been re-architected to manage both SDN-complaint as well as non-SDN networks and OpenFlow has emerged as the standard protocol for communication between the controllers and devices. However there is still no standard protocol defined on the northbound (NB) side to communicate between the controllers and the NMS / EMS application.
Most vendors of SDN controllers are using nonstandard or proprietary APIs on the NB interface side. These are based on Web-Services such as SOAP, REST etc. and are the APIs that any EMS/NMS can use of implement services such as Policy Management, CoS, QoS, Traffic Engineering as well as other FCAPS functions. Additionally, there are many SDN controllers and applications available in the market but most are not fully evolved.
We are currently doing a reference implementation with the Floodlight SDN controller. Floodlight is an Apache-licensed open SDN controller that works with physical and virtual switches that speak OpenFlow protocol. Floodlight exposes json over REST APIs for the EMS/NMS applications to interact with the Controller. NOCVue has been integrated with all or most of the REST APIs exposed by Floodlight, including:
- Statistical Data across Switches (Port based, Flow based, Queues etc)
- Per Switch Stats
- Controller-specific Stats like CPU, Memory, etc.
- Link Details Based on LLDP
- Switch Details (MAC, IP etc)
- Add/Delete Static Flows
- Virtual Network Management
This integration effort with Floodlight controller will serve as a reference implementation for NOCVue for managing future SDN implementations/networks. Want to know more? Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for any queries related to the integration of NOCVue with Floodlight SDN Controller.
Author: Ramu Bodathula, Chief Technical Officer, Network Management Technologies.