“Software Defined Networking (SDN),” which enables programmable network configuration, is attracting attention due to the popularization of server virtualization and cloud services.

Traditionally, when a network change was required, changes on routers and switches which integrated OS/middleware and applications had to be done manually with vendor-defined original command by network engineers.

With the rapid popularization of server virtualization and cloud services as well as  rising requests for flexible resources and live migration to virtualized servers/storages, more and more service providers and engineers’ expect surges in network virtualization, which enables flexible and fast network configuration.

OpenFlow comes under the spotlight as the technology to realize “Software Defined Networking (SDN).” The existing network has network equipment with a unified control plane. In contrast, the network configuration function (control plane) and packet forwarding function (data plane) are separate in OpenFlow. This is one of its distinguishing features.

OpenFlow can manage a number of network equipment configurations in an integrated way with OpenFlow controller, so the network manager can easily change the network physically and logically regardless of physical network environment or existing protocol.

Here are some case studies from Japan.

Kanazawa University Hospital

In this hospital, each medical care section has its own network. Needless to say, this makes it very difficult to grasp the whole network and requires an amount of work for configuration change and verification every time new medical equipment is installed. By introducing OpenFlow, efficient management and cost reduction are achieved through flexible implementation/visualization of each medical care section’s virtualized network; workload reduction when upgrading/relocating medical equipment; and reduction of network appliances due to the shared resources.

NTT Communications launched Enterprise Cloud, the world’s first to be integrated with network virtualization in June 2012. OpenFlow network virtualization technology is used not only for the network built within but also between the data centers.

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