Microsoft is making great strides in equipping its Windows server product with features that meet the changing networking requirements of enterprise data centres. Software-defined networking (SDN) is a key technology.
We’ll be looking at the features of Windows Server 2016 that enable SDN support enterprise needs. This will allow for flexible, cost-effective and efficient networking. Server 2016 will make your networking even more efficient.
Before we begin, some background
Software-defined networking is, in principle, a cousin to virtualization. It allows the network, as it is seen by the user or application, to be isolated from the underlying physical network. SDN inserts a “control layer” between the application layer’ and actual network ’infrastructure layers — the switches, routers and the connections between them.
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Start training It controls how packets flow through the underlying network switches and routers. Typically, it uses a protocol like the Open Networking Foundation’s OpenFlow.
Real-world enterprises will require robust, scalable networking to manage traffic spikes, multi-locations, hybrid cloud environments, and other issues. You need the SDN controller to be distributed and capable of supporting multiple network domains with all that’s needed for them to interact.
Windows Server 2016: SDN Components
Windows Server 2016 Data Center Edition is the cornerstone of a Microsoft SDN Network. This server edition will host your SDN Network Controllers and handle activities like load balancing, inter-domain gateways, and load balancing. Server 2016 Standard Edition is sufficient for regular workloads that use the SDN.
Server 2016’s key features that enable SDN include:
Software Load Balancing, (SLB)
Hyper-V Network Virtualization,
Data center Firewall,
The nerve center of a Microsoft SDN Network is Server 2016’s network controller. It is located in a HyperV virtual machine and serves as the central control point for managing, configuring, and monitoring your data center SDN network. The network controller must be able operate in a distributed, robust manner to meet the enterprise’s scalability requirements. Multi-domain SDN networks require that the network controllers from each domain communicate with each other to ensure inter-domain authentication.
Server 2016 offers an API that allows management apps such as System Center Virtual Machine Manager to communicate with the network controller. You can also communicate directly with the Controller via the PowerShell and command line interfaces (CLI). Server 2016 also offers an API that allows the Network Controller to interact with the physical network.
Software Load Balancing
You need to be able to direct traffic to multiple instances or databases of the same application for high traffic and/or high availability applications. You need to distribute the workload equally among these resources, regardless of whether they are located in different network domains. This is possible with Server 2016’s Software Load Balancing feature (SLB).
Naturally, the resources themselves will be running in virtual machines. Therefore, SLB must work with Hyper-V’s virtual switch mechanism to ensure data packets are seamlessly moved between virtual machines.
Multiple domains in your SDN network will be connected to each other via a Remote Access Service Gateway (RAS). Server 2016 has this feature that allows SDN network controllers to route traffic to the appropriate data center resources.