OpenFlow Basics

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Based on exorbitant claims made by the industry press you might have concluded there must be some revolutionary concepts in the OpenFlow technology. Nothing could be further from the truth – OpenFlow is a very simple technology that allows a controller to program forwarding entries in a networking device.

Did you ever encounter Catalyst 5000 with Route Switch Module (RSM), or a combination of Catalyst 5000 and an external router, using Multilayer Switching (MLS)? Those products used architecture identical to OpenFlow almost 20 years ago, the only difference being the relative openness of OpenFlow protocol.

The blog posts in this section answer a number of basic OpenFlow questions, including:

  • What is OpenFlow?
  • What can different versions of OpenFlow do?
  • How can a controller implement control-plane protocols (like LACP, STP or routing protocols) … and does it have to?
  • Can we deploy OpenFlow in combination with traditional forwarding mechanisms?

For more details, watch OpenFlow Deep Dive and other SDN webinars.

What Is OpenFlow?

Using OpenFlow

Does OpenFlow Make Sense?