Half Day: Getting Started with OpenFlow Deployments

Brent Salisbury

Instructor: Brent Salisbury, Network Architect, University of Kentucky





SDN is getting close to the inflection point of transitioning from hype to something early adaptors begin deploying and vendors begin bringing real solutions to the market. In order to navigate the upcoming transition, network architects, engineers and operators need to begin preparing for what impact if at all SDN will or should have on their network and staff. The first step is a understanding what early adaptors of SDN are doing that work well and what potential roadblocks are in the way.



–       Overview of OpenFlow and why it was created.

–       How OpenFlow compares to current networking constructs.

–       How forwarding tables are populated with flows using OpenFlow messaging.

–       OpenFlow negotiation and notification mechanisms.

–       Topology discovery.

–       Reactive vs. Proactive forwarding.

–       Micro vs. macro flow policy.

–       The role of TCAM, CAM and processors

–       Data plane challenges and limitations.

–       Analysis of the different OpenFlow specifications.

–       Current vendor hardware and software switching supporting OpenFlow.

–       The control plane and state distribution.

–       IGPs and OpenFlow integration.

–       Table miss policy and SDN islands.

–       OpenFlow controllers, both commercial and open source.

–       Where OpenFlow makes sense today and where it does not.

–       SDN in the enterprise campus and enterprise data center.

–       Early OpenFlow use cases.

–       The value of forwarding based on flows.

–       Architectural frameworks being used today.

–       OpenFlow overlays in the Data Center and campus.

–       The risk and reward of early adoption with SDN.

–       Hybrid SDN architectures.

–       Abstractions for operators and developers.

–       How does the role of the networking professional change if at all.

–       How to get started on your own.



Who Should Attend

This session about SDN and OpenFlow is geared towards network architects, engineers and operators that are either new to SDN but familiar with networking, to the more advanced SDN hacker. There will be a deep dive into OpenFlow along with the challenges that accompany early adoption. It will cover early architectural frameworks in the Enterprise campus and data center. Finally, it will draw from real life lessons learned in how to get started with SDN and avoiding unnecessary risks along the way.


Learning Objectives:

  • A deep dive of OpenFlow to understand if it has a fit in the networks you are responsible for. By understanding OpenFlow messaging it will enable one to see through the smoke and mirrors often told by vendors to avoid poor investment protection when purchasing hardware.
  • Review current SDN architectures being considered, deployed and operated in the industry. Understanding how to integrate early SDN use cases into your network with as little risk as possible. Without migration strategies it is unrealistic to expect any adoption for the 99% of us operating non-hyperscale networks today.
  • Learn what hardware and software, both free and commercial is available in the market is critical for long term planning. Understanding what SDN use cases can leverage existing hardware and still gain the benefits of SDN use cases. Key metrics to look for that will affect the lifespan of the less then optimal hardware available today. Take away how to build a lab or initial prototypes without bringing down the network in the process.

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