What is an SDN Solution (Software Defined Networking)?

Easily integrate a software defined network security solution across your organization’s cloud-hybrid network, with the Perimeter 81 SDN.

SDN Definition

Site-to-Site VPNs are established by connecting two gateways in separate locations via the internet, private networks or outsourced networks using IPsec. They allow organizations of any size to easily and safely access their IT resources, whether they’re hosted locally or in the cloud. The primary purpose of a Site-to-Site VPN is to provide secure access to sensitive assets and network resources including internal customer and sales systems, SaaS applications, and local file storage for employees accessing them from different devices and potentially unsafe Wi-Fi connections.

Seamlessly integrating with major cloud providers such as Amazon Web Services, Salesforce, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud, the best Site-to-Site VPNs offer organizations a scalable way to connect low-latency remote offices. Employees can connect to the tools necessary for their roles whenever and however they like, simply by logging into their Site-to-Site VPN solution via a web, desktop, or mobile app before being granted access. The encrypted IPsec tunnel created between their chosen device and the network allows them to browse the web and work safely.

SDN vs SD-WAN Solution

SDNs are more reliable and scalable than VPN-based WAN solutions as they take a software-based approach to building and extending enterprise networks beyond Wide Area Networks (WANs). Well-built SDN architecture provides IT administrators with the ability to integrate network infrastructure and security controls together that range from internet traffic prioritization and content filtering to firewall creation and threat management, all via a web portal.

SD-WANs are an implementation of SDN technology that use virtual appliances connected by encrypted tunnels. They connect to sets of network services that provide enhanced functionality across the virtualized network. Moreover, traffic reaching an SD-WAN appliance can be classified based on application or service type which is then prioritized using centrally-managed policies to optimize network traffic.

Most major cloud application platforms such as Microsoft 365 and Salesforce can be accessed from branch offices or via remote workers directly from the internet with strict IAM policies and services such as Azure AD. And with well-architected SD-WAN policies and procedures in place, organizations can route trusted business application traffic across the public internet while sending social network and video content to a cloud-security service for malware inspection. Additional untrusted or suspicious traffic from a foreign country or peer-to-peer application traffic can also be routed to a next generation firewall for filtering, for instance.

When is Software Defined Networking Used?

Organizations today can use SDN solutions to connect branch offices to their corporate networks instead of using traditional and expensive multiprotocol label switching (MPLS) connections, firewalls or proprietary hardware. Offered by major cloud providers such as Amazon Web Services, Salesforce, Microsoft Azure, and Google, the best SDNs provide organizations a scalable way to connect local and remote offices and workers.

How Does an SDN Work?

Software Defined Networks separate the control plane, also known as the logical network layer that makes traffic routing decisions, from the underlying data plane, the mechanism that forwards network traffic through routers. SDNs offer network traffic programmability and control with policy management while leveraging network hardware resources from public cloud providers.

SDNs connected by encrypted tunnels make up sets of network services that provide enhanced functionality across virtualized networks. Traffic moving across an SDN can be classified based on application or service type and then prioritized and forwarded based on centrally-managed policies that optimize network traffic.

SDN solutions enable IT administrators to integrate network infrastructure and security controls together ranging from internet traffic prioritization and content filtering to firewall creation and threat management, all via a web portal.

By eliminating the need for expensive and proprietary networking hardware, SDN technology also reduces the physical infrastructure overhead so that any organization, from small and medium businesses (SMBs) to enterprises, can quickly deploy highly secure networks either locally or globally.

Software Defined Networking Software

Software Defined Networking uses centralized software controllers that help create and deploy SDN network configurations. SDN controllers communicate using APIs enabling IT administrators to view and set policies across the virtualized network. SDN controllers also work together to maintain network service levels for applications and services, and let administrators adjust network-wide traffic flows to meet fluctuating needs dynamically.

Network intelligence is logically centralized through two types of SDN controllers: SDN controllers for Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) data center Infrastructure and SDN controllers for programmable network switch management.

NFV virtualizes network hardware and software whereas SDN as a network architecture adds automation and programmability. This is done by speparating network control and forwarding functions from proprietary hardware appliances and running them as software in virtual machines.

SDN controllers for NFV data center infrastructure connect virtual ports and manage the Linux operating system kernel that consists of L3 IP routing, Linux bridges, iptables or ebtables, network namespaces and Open vSwitch.

What is SDN Architecture?

The SDN architecture is based on a central virtualized SDN controller that manages the underlying hardware-based network devices from cloud providers such as routers, switches, firewalls, and intrusion detection appliances. Administrators to easily program networks either via scripting tools or third-party tools and consoles, all of which employ those programmable interfaces.

Industry analyst firm IDC says that these virtualized controllers abstracted from underlying network hardware result “in a datacenter network that is better aligned with the needs of application workloads through automated (thereby faster) provisioning, programmatic network management, pervasive application-oriented visibility, and where needed, direct integration with cloud orchestration platforms.”

Existing at the lowest level, these networking hardware devices communicate with the SDN controller using APIs for device deployment and configuration. This enables IT administrators to leverage public cloud and private resources without the need to purchase and manage expensive hardware.

Most major cloud application platforms such as Microsoft 365 and Salesforce can be accessed from branch offices or via remote workers directly from the internet with strict IAM policies and services such as Azure AD. However, untrusted cloud apps and suspicious web traffic with unknown network security configurations need additional traffic inspection.

SDNs can integrate advanced cloud-native security functions alongside network deployments as well. With well-architected SDN policies and procedures in place, organizations can route trusted business application traffic across the public internet while sending social network and video content to a cloud-security service for malware inspection. Untrusted or suspicious traffic from a foreign country or peer-to-peer application traffic can also be routed to a next generation firewall for filtering, for example.

Why is Software Defined Networking Important?

Eliminating hardware requirements with cloud-native software defined network technologies, SDNs are important because they foster innovative network use cases while reducing enterprise capital and operating expenses. They also enable organizations to quickly deploy flexible applications, services, and infrastructure to meet ever-changing cloud network and business requirements. 

Use cases for SDNs include improved remote access for sales teams and remote workers through network access points of presence placed nearest to end users. Moreover, SDNs allow organizations to use software and hardware from different vendors to deploy custom network services and cloud-native apps.

Organizations can deploy new SDN-based services to drive revenue via cloud applications and more efficient workflows. Network functions can run cost-effective “off-the-shelf” networking hardware either on premises or in the cloud, reducing both capex and opex. SDNs also support automation and network programmability to help deploy, manage, and scale cloud-based networks.

What’s the Difference Between a Software Defined Network and a Traditional Network?

Software-defined Networks (SNDs) differ from traditional networks in that SDNs are software and cloud-based while traditional networks are on-premises, hardware-based and managed by internal IT staff. SDNs let IT admins provision new devices via public or private cloud software instead of deploying and managing the physical infrastructure themselves.

Virtualization is the primary difference between SDN and traditional networking. While SDNs are flexible and allow IT admins the ability to more easily control and manage networking devices virtually, traditional networks require switches, routers and physical infrastructure that must be managed locally by IT staff for network resource allocation across enterprises.

Virtualized SDNs generate an abstract copy of physical networks, and enable the provisioning of resources from a centralized location. SDNs enable IT administrators to provision resources and bandwidths as needed without the need for additional physical infrastructure while traditional networks managed by in house admins require new hardware to increase network capacity.

Protect Your Organization’s Resources

Total Endpoint Encryption

IPsec tunneling protocols establish a secure connection between users’ devices and network resources, as soon as they log into the VPN client. This ensures that only authorized users and devices can connect.

Low-Latency Remote Work

Full secure access for remote workers includes the ability to connect from anywhere and at any time, and share data securely. Those with the ability to connect are already authorized, so oversight is kept to a minimum.

Easy Cloud Integration

One of the biggest advantages of a Site-to-Site VPN is that they’re cloud-friendly and cloud agnostic, meaning they can seamlessly integrate with the most popular products like Salesforce, AWS, and others.

What are the Three Layers of an SDN

  1. Application Layer
  2. Control Layer
  3. Infrastructure Layer

Our SDN Leverages 4 Primary Capabilities

Unified Network Platform
One cloud-based platform capable of access management, monitoring, permissioning, and other IT necessities.

Multi-Tenant Cloud
Divide the network into segments according to your security policies. Segregation protects network resources.

Easy to Use Clients
Support for 2FA and single sign-on, across mobile devices using iOS and Android, PC and Mac desktops and the web.

Zero Trust Access
Requiring both user and device authentication, this multilayered model hinges security on users, not perimeters.

Looking for a Software Defined Networking Solution?

What Perimeter 81 Offers Your Organization

Security on All Devices: BYOD policies multiply the number and variety of devices connecting to your network. Site-to-Site VPNs allow authorized, secure access for all devices and remote workers no matter the details.

Cloud Agnostic Integration: The ease with which an Site-to-Site VPN integrates into any cloud-based platform or service (as well as local environments) enables organizations to protect all their resources in a unified fashion.

DNS Filtering: DNS filtering is essential for all organizations as it limits the number of threats a network is exposed to by using the Domain Name System to block user access. This helps to significantly reduce the remediation workload for an organization’s IT teams.

Superior Quality Assurance: Connecting to the VPN through a diverse global server array helps the QA and marketing teams determine how best to target different markets, and how successful current efforts are.

Safe Remote Access: Automatic Wi-Fi security lets remote workers connect to sensitive resources from the public internet without fear of exposure, while encrypted tunnels shield data sharing from prying eyes.

Precise User Segmentation: Beyond the capabilities of traditional VPNs, the addition of granular policy-based permissioning helps organizations exercise greater control over those entering their network.

IP Whitelisting: Explicitly define the IP addresses that are allowed to access the network, granting IT teams a stronger grip on security and also the ability to assign static IPs to automatically trusted sources of traffic.

The Perimeter 81 SDN Includes:

  • One-click VPN network deployment
  • User-friendly applications for Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS
  • Manage cloud resources in a unified platform
  • 24/7 knowledgeable customer support
  • Unlimited bandwidth and data availability
  • Automatic Wi-Fi security
  • Comprehensive auditing and reporting capabilities
  • Multiple global private and public VPN gateways

Looking for a Software Defined Networking Solution?

Simplify your network security today.