Traditional data centers use a tree-based network topology consisting of switched Ethernet with VLAN tagging. This topology only defines one path to the network, which has traditionally handled north-south data traffic. The transition to a flat leaf-spine data center network using 10G and 40G Ethernet links enables virtualized servers to distribute workflows among many virtual machines. Software defined network (SDN) where the control is decoupled from the data path allows a common software stack such as OpenFlow to provide a consistent industry-wide control software environment. Instead of having a proprietary software stack, designers have an OpenFlow managed network, allowing users to provision the networks very easily (virtually), without requiring physical access to the network’s hardware devices. According to IDC, the SDN ecosystem and network infrastructure will grow at an exponential pace reaching marketing size of $3.7 billion by 2016.
DesignWare IP for Data Centers Brochure
Figure 1: Simplifying the data center network with software defined networks