Reference Designs

Mellanox's Software Defined Networking (SDN)

Traditional networking equipment gear is dominated by a few large vendors with proprietary hardware and software delivered as a monolithic “black box” – and without the opportunity to extend or innovate. Software Defined Networking (SDN) is fundamentally changing the way networks work. At the core of SDN is the concept of decoupling the two fundamental functions that networks must perform:

1. Decisions on where traffic should be sent (the control plane)
2. The actual forwarding of traffic to the selected destination (the data plane)

This separation enables network architects to strategically decide how traffic flows throughout the network, and to centralize this logic into a programmable interface that can be extended and tailored to meet customer requirements. For more than a decade, Mellanox has been implementing these concepts in practice in its InfiniBand products and is uniquely positioned to deliver this same functionality with SDN; thereby providing data centers with a mature infrastructure for flexible, scalable and dynamic networks. Today, Mellanox builds on the extensive knowledge gained from building hundreds of high performance and scalable networks with InfiniBand, and now provides its customers with SDN networks on Ethernet as well. Mellanox is unique in the SDN world–delivering innovative technologies such as OpenFlow interfaces on both NICs and switches, provided on an open architecture.

Mellanox's End-to-End solution for SDN networks is built as an open, industry standard platform supporting a wide range of applications and network management tasks. The innovative solution incorporates different techniques for intra and inter server communications, provisioning, QoS and vNIC management. For example, certain requests can be optimally managed by the local network adapters or alternatively requests may be handled more conventionally by the switch - all leveraging standard OpenFlow protocols.


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