Ensuring SDN Controller Performance in Real Time Networks

By NFVZone Special Guest
, Veryx Technologies
February 17, 2015

Service providers and enterprises face limitations in meeting the explosive demand for mobility and bandwidth in the next generation of networks: complexity, inability to scale and vendor dependence.

SDN has emerged as a networking architecture design to overcome the aforementioned challenges. SDN enables network programmability, thus accelerating service introduction and reducing operating expenses across multi-vendor platforms. By decoupling the control and forwarding planes, SDN ensures that the distributed network intelligence and states are logically centralized. Further, it abstracts the underlying network infrastructure from applications and provides a means to avert vendor lock-in solutions.

As a result, Data Center and Cloud service providers gain unprecedented network control and automation support and when also coupled with the network virtualization paradigm, are able to offer diverse set of services for various business needs.

Thus SDN provides an architecture that enables enterprises and service providers realize their vision of highly scalable, flexible and dynamic networks.

Need for SDN testing

While the promise of SDN is appealing, the stakeholders who deliver and utilize SDN capabilities need to be assured of the performance of this new networking model. This necessitates specialized testing of networks supporting this model to ensure that the performance expectations are met in a consistent manner.

Networks should support automated provisioning of large scale applications to speed up the application delivery. Thus, before deploying SDN the network’s capabilities to support dynamic provisioning of flows and the degree of scalability have to be verified. 

It is crucial to ensure that the devices which form part of the network infrastructure are verified for packet processing, forwarding behavior and quality-of-service delivery. In addition to this network management, provisioning and control capabilities of the network must also be verified.

We will specifically cover the control plane aspects that need to be verified as part of the SDN Controller below.

Key aspects in testing the SDN Controller

The obvious starting point for verification in the controller would be that of topology discovery. The controller’s ability to abstract the network infrastructure and provide a centralized control plane to network applications for enabling various network services and support interfaces should be validated. 

Further, as SDN enables dynamic networking, the controller’s capability to support real-time configuration change detection when virtual networks are rapidly modified, has to be tested.

Besides this, SDN also provides scope for network optimization and innovation by supporting dynamic, on-demand provisioning of end-user services in real time. In such scenarios, it is necessary to measure the controller’s performance aspects such as throughput and latency.

While centralization of control is beneficial, it could hamper the overall network availability. Thus controller support for high availability in terms of quick failure recovery mechanisms during failure must be evaluated. Moreover, SDN supports dynamic scalability. Hence the controller’s ability to handle infrastructure modification requests and the extent to which it can scale has to be measured.

SDN architecture facilitates both physical and virtual networks in order to deliver various networking services with speed and agility. Therefore, controller support for these services including load balancing, WAN optimization and bandwidth-on-demand services must be verified.

In addition to these, security is a major concern for SDN adopters. Therefore, support for enabling real-time traffic monitoring, pro-active detection and prevention of malicious attacks, authentication and authorization access to controller have to be verified.

Charanya Balasubramanian is Product Manager at Veryx Technologies. Charanya handles product management efforts for SDN and emerging technologies at Veryx. She has over five years of experience in the Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) industry spanning across several technologies including virtualization and cloud computing. She holds a Master’s degree in Strategy and Marketing from XLRI, Jamshedpur and Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science and Engineering from SSNCE, Anna University, Chennai. Charanya can be reached at


Edited by Stefania Viscusi

Related Articles

New Partnership Helps Service Providers with SDN

By: Frank Griffin    3/30/2017

A new partnership between Packet Design and NEC/Netcracker is going to give service providers new tools to implement software-defined networking (SDN)…

Read More

Brain4Net's New SDN Services Mean More Value

By: Steve Anderson    3/23/2017

Brain4Net brings out a line of carrier Ethernet services built around SDN, which join with virtual network services to create greater value.

Read More

TMC Announces 2016 SDN Product of the Year Award Winners

By: TMC    1/18/2017

TMC, a global, integrated media company helping clients build communities in person, in print and online, announced today the winners of the 2016 SDN …

Read More

Juniper to Buy AppFormix

By: Paula Bernier    12/5/2016

Juniper Networks recently announced plans to buy cloud optimization platform provider AppFormix. The deal is expected to close this quarter.

Read More

Vidder Expands on PrecisionAccess with Automation, Channel Efforts, Etc.

By: Paula Bernier    11/28/2016

Security company Vidder, which sells the PrecisionAccess software-defined perimeter service, continues to build on its momentum with new customers, ne…

Read More