Software Defined Networks (SDN) & Network Functions Virtualization (NFV)

Software-defined Networking (SDN) is a new approach to designing, building and managing networks. It has evolved from original research work done at UC Berkeley and Stanford University. SDN allows network administrators to quickly and easily manage network services from a centralized location without having to manually configure each individual network element (switch/router). This is done through abstraction of lower level functionality.

The basic concept of SDN is to make network control decisions from a centralized location. This is done by decoupling and optimizing the system that makes switching/routing decisions and other control functions such as signalling (the control plane) from the underlying systems that forwards traffic to the selected destination (the data plane).

SDN requires mechanisms for the centralized controller (such as Open Daylight or OpenStack Orchestration) to communicate with the distributed data plane. This is also referred to as the Southbound Interface. One such mechanism is OpenFlow. The Open Networking Foundation was founded to promote SDN and OpenFlow by specifying the OpenFlow application programming interfaces (API's) for connecting Controllers and Software Defined Switches/routers.

The SDN environment also utilizes open API's to support the communication between services and applications with their controller (also called the Northbound Interface). Northbound API's enable efficient service activation, management and automation.

The goal of Network Virtualization (NV) is to simplify, optimize, and enhance the network by creating logical networks that are decoupled from the underlying physical hardware. Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) simulate hardware platform, such as firewall or storage, using software components. This allows the usage of 'off the shelf' computing platforms and therefore cost savings.

This technology will be applicable to the deployment of major carrier networks, engineered for the delivery of carrier services through performance controlled interfaces such as those used in Carrier Ethernet networks. It will also be widely used in enterprise Cloud Computing systems.

This course describes what Software Defined Networks are, how they can be built, what they can do, how virtualization can be used to model and deploy services and how such services will be monitored and managed.


  • Describe the key concepts in Software Defined Networks (SDN)
  • Examine the SDN architecture and key functions
  • Evaluate several SDN controller platforms such as Open Stack Orchestration, POX and Open Daylight
  • Evaluate several Cloud Computing Platforms such as OpenStack and CloudStack
  • Examine Northbound Interfaces such as REST and Southbound Interfaces such as OpenFlow and Netconf
  • Review the architecture and development of the OpenFlow standards
  • Appreciate the problems of management and security in SDN
  • Describe the key concepts of Network Virtualization and Network Functions Virtualization (NFV)
  • Understand how Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) can be managed
  • Identify the current status for development of SDN and NFV technologies

Target Audience

Strategic planners, network architects, network managers, systems engineers, service planners and carrier operation staff who are responsible for planning, implementing and deploying networks which may require SDN and/or NFV techniques in the future.

Additional Information

SDN & NFV currently has varied meanings within the industry and differing adoption strategies are proliferating. To reflect this we can offer a customization service to corporate customers wishing to tailor this series of learning to deliver skills to a wide range of employee roles. Complete blended learning packagers are available that may encompass our online e-learning series, instructor-led classroom technical classes delivered for both onsite and public scheduled formats, and hands-on workshops. Call us now or leave an enquiry to find out more!

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Evolution of Software Defined Networks (11 topics)

  • The building blocks of modern networks
  • Data Plane Functions
  • Control Plane Functions
  • Distributed Control Planes
  • Centralized Control Plane
  • Management Plane Functions
  • Issues with current network architectures
  • Introduction to Protocols and Applications
  • Southbound Interfaces (SBI)
  • Netconf
  • Northbound Interfaces (NBI))

SDN and NFV Definitions (2 topics)

  • SDN Definitions
  • NFV Definitions

Introduction to SDN and NFV (2 topics)

  • Market Drivers for SDN
  • Market Drivers for NFV

Why SDN (4 topics)

  • SDN Concepts
  • Introduction to SDN Architecture
  • Management Plane Challenges
  • Network Topology Challenges

Introduction to SDN Controller Environment (16 topics)

  • Event Driven Programming Model
  • SDN Southbound Interfaces
  • Southbound Interface Technologies
  • OpenFlow
  • OpenFlow History
  • OpenFlow Version Basic Architecture
  • OpenFlow Version Content Evolution
  • OF-Config
  • Issues with OpenFlow
  • SDN Computing Platforms (e.g., Open Daylight,.)
  • SDN Northbound Interfaces (REST)
  • Controllers Scalability and Redundancy
  • Security considerations
  • Northbound Interfaces
  • Southbound Interfaces
  • SDN Controllers

Virtualization, Network Virtualizations and NFV (9 topics)

  • Why Use Virtualization?
  • Introduction to Hypervisors
  • Hypervisor Models
  • Virtual Switches and Routers
  • Example Virtual Switches: Open vSwitch
  • Network Function Virtualization (NFV)
  • NFV Concepts
  • NFV Architecture
  • Function Chaining

Introduction to Applying SDN to Cloud Computing (15 topics)

  • Architecture of Cloud Computing
  • Cloud Service Models
  • Multi-tier Applications
  • Cloud Computing
  • Cloud Computing Definitions
  • Cloud Computing Model (Compute, Store, Networking)
  • Virtual Switches
  • Cloud Computing Platforms
  • OpenStack Architecture
  • Cloud Network Infrastructure and Protocols
  • Native L2 vs L3 Overlay Models
  • SDN Deployment Models
  • Cloud Networking Deployment Models
  • SDN Deployment Models

Evaluation and Review (1 topic)

  • Synergies between SDN and NFV

Delegates should be from an engineering background with a solid appreciation of carrier class or enterprise networks. Understanding of a programming language such as Python or Java is helpful but not essential.