SDN vs NFV: Understand the difference

Rashmi Bhardwaj | Blog,Cloud & Virtualization

Introduction to SDN and NFV

Before discussing the difference between the two terms, let’s understand them first briefly.

  • SDN (Software-defined networking) is the concept that allows to programmatically control, change, and manage network behaviour dynamically via open interfaces and abstraction of lower layer functionality.
  • NFV(Network functions virtualization) is the concept to use the technologies of IT virtualization to virtualize entire classes of network node functions into building blocks that may connect to create communication services.

The working of SDN and NFV is very close to each other with some of overlapping scope of each other’s functions.

sdn vs nfv

Comparison Table: SDN vs NFV

Below table gives a clear comparison of both the terms –


StrategySeparation of control and Data , centralization of control and programmability of networkReplacement of dedicated appliances and devices with generic servers.
ProtocolOpenFlowNot presently
Benefits1.Simplification of –

·Configuration of entire network

·Operation of network since consolidation

2.Reduced cost due to no longer dependency on expensive vendor specific routers and switches.

1.Speed up time to market

2.Simplification of procurement, design, integration and management of infrastructure since this all is standardized.

3.Increased scalability by dynamically allocating resources to network functions.

Supporters to initiativeEnterprise Software and Hardware VendorsTelecom Service Providers
FormalizationOpen Networking Forum (ONF)ETSI NFV Working Group
Target ScopeCloud, Data Center and Campus environmentService Provider domain
ApplicabilityWorks on Layer 2 and 3 of OSI ModelWorks on Layer 4-7 of OSI Model
Application runIndustry standard servers / switchesIndustry standard Servers

Download the comparison table: SDN vs NFV

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What is SDN?


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