Navigating the world of software-defined networking

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Software-Defined Networking (SDN) is a network architecture approach that separates the control plane and the data plane in traditional networking. It allows network administrators to centrally manage and control network behavior through software, making networks more agile, flexible, and programmable. The field of SDN is vast, and there are various career paths within it, including network engineer, SDN architect, network automation engineer, or SDN application developer. It's essential to explore these different roles and align your career aspirations with your interests and skill set. In this blog, we’ll offer an overview of SDN and how to get started in a career path related to it. This blog will help prepare learners for a conversation taking place during our upcoming webinar.

SDN, defined

SDN involves decoupling the network control plane, which makes decisions about how traffic should flow, from the data plane, which handles the actual forwarding of network packets. This separation allows for centralized control and programmability of the network, making it easier to manage, automate, and optimize network operations.

Benefits of SDN

  • Simplified Network Management: SDN provides a centralized view and control of the network, simplifying management tasks and reducing complexity.
  • Programmability and Flexibility: SDN allows network administrators to programmatically control and configure network behavior, enabling more flexible and agile network operations.
  • Automation and Orchestration: SDN facilitates automation and orchestration of network tasks, making it easier to deploy, scale, and manage network services.
  • Cost Savings: SDN can lead to cost savings by optimizing network resource utilization and enabling the use of commodity hardware.

Getting Started in an SDN Career Path

To embark on a career path related to SDN, consider the following steps:

Gain networking knowledge — Start by building a solid foundation in computer networking. Familiarize yourself with networking concepts, protocols (e.g., TCP/IP, Ethernet), routing, and switching.

Learn SDN concepts — Study SDN principles, architecture, and components. Understand the different SDN frameworks and protocols, such as OpenFlow, NETCONF, or gRPC.

Acquire programming skills — Develop programming skills in languages commonly used in SDN, such as Python, Java, or Go. Familiarize yourself with APIs and frameworks specific to SDN, such as OpenDaylight, ONOS, or Ryu.

Explore SDN tools and platforms — Experiment with SDN tools, controllers, and platforms through hands-on practice. Set up virtual network environments using tools like Mininet or SDN development kits provided by vendors.

Gain practical experience — Look for internships, projects, or entry-level positions where you can work with SDN technologies. Gain hands-on experience with SDN controllers, switches, and applications.

Pursue certifications — Consider pursuing industry-recognized certifications related to SDN, such as Cisco Certified Network Professional (CCNP) or VMware Certified Professional (VCP) in Network Virtualization.

Stay updated — Keep up with the latest developments and advancements in SDN by following industry blogs, attending conferences, participating in online forums, and joining professional networking groups.

Continuing training is key

Remember that SDN is an evolving field, and it's important to continuously update your skills and knowledge as new technologies and standards emerge. As you advance in your SDN career, look for employers who support and provide ongoing training or find a vendor with training delivery that works for you.

How ACI Learning Hubs can help

Join our webinar — August 17, 2 p.m. EST “Software-Defined Networking (SDN) Demystified. Learn how SDN is being implemented in networks today. Join Anthony Sequeira and Wes Bryan as they discuss Software-Defined Networking (SDN) principles and goals in networking today. This action-packed webinar will not just discuss the theory of SDN but will also provide in-depth looks at actual solutions from networking giants like Cisco Systems. Bring your questions and get ready to see the latest generation of networking technologies in action. This webinar is an excellent event for new students of networking as well as seasoned professionals. We will see you there!

Network Support Specialist program through Hubs

The Network Support Specialist program provides the networking training needed to pursue or advance an IT career in networking. This networking training program will prepare students to take the CCNA certification exam, CompTIA Security+, and Network+ certification exams. Learn more.

Fast facts about ACI Learning Hubs:

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