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The road to SDN: an intellectual history of programmable networks

Author(s): Feamster, Nick; Rexford, Jennifer; Zegura, Ellen

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Abstract: Software Defined Networking (SDN) is an exciting technology that enables innovation in how we design and manage networks. Although this technology seems to have appeared suddenly, SDN is part of a long history of efforts to make computer networks more programmable. In this paper, we trace the intellectual history of programmable networks, including active networks, early efforts to separate the control and data plane, and more recent work on OpenFlow and network operating systems. We highlight key concepts, as well as the technology pushes and application pulls that spurred each innovation. Along the way, we debunk common myths and misconceptions about the technologies and clarify the relationship between SDN and related technologies such as network virtualization.
Publication Date: Apr-2014
Citation: Feamster, Nick, Jennifer Rexford, and Ellen Zegura. "The road to SDN: an intellectual history of programmable networks." ACM SIGCOMM Computer Communication Review 44, no. 2 (2014): pp. 87-98. doi:10.1145/2602204.2602219
DOI: 10.1145/2602204.2602219
ISSN: 0146-4833
Pages: 87 - 98
Type of Material: Journal Article
Journal/Proceeding Title: ACM SIGCOMM Computer Communication Review
Version: Author's manuscript

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