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31 Oct

What’s the Difference Between SDN and NFV?

Globe on Computer Chip

At times, I've heard people interchange the terms SDN and NFV. They are easy to confuse. Both deal with the virtualization of technologies that enable today's networks. But while the two concepts are complementary, they refer to different domains and are not the same. In fact, they are not even dependent upon each other, though combining the two can create extra benefit.

For a simple explanation, watch the short video below. Vess Bakalov, Co-Founder and CTO of SevOne, explains the difference.

 

As Vess explains, Software-Defined Networking (SDN) allows administrators to manage network services through abstraction of lower-level functionality. SDN adheres to three principles:

  • Separation of control and forwarding functions
  • Centralization of control
  • Ability to program the behavior of the network using well-defined interfaces

Then what is Network Functions Virtualization (NFV)? It's an architecture concept that virtualizes entire classes of network node functions into building blocks. These building blocks include virtualized firewalls, load balancing, DNS, intrusion detection, and more. Chaining these together creates communication services.

At the most basic level, NFV requires a network to run on. That network can be a traditional hardware-based network, a software-defined network, or a combination of both.

When monitoring the performance of SDN and NFV, the panacea is to automatically learn application and service topologies in real-time. This includes a visualization of what they currently are and what they most recently were. By understanding the performance of the underlying components and their dependencies, you can ensure application and service delivery in these dynamic environments.

Want to learn more? Check out our whitepaper on the Top 3 Impacts of Monitoring Software Defined Networks.

Written by Scott Frymire
Director of Content Marketing

Scott Frymire joined SevOne in September 2012 and currently serves as Director of Content Marketing. His primary interest is interpreting how IT trends in the enterprise and service provider markets – such as cloud, software-defined everything, and the Internet of Things – impact the performance monitoring landscape. Prior to SevOne, Scott spent 16 years in marketing business-to-business software and services for ERP solution providers including Prophet 21, Activant, and Epicor.

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