16 Apr 2018

Why Container Networking Should Be Part of Your SDN Strategy

If you’re working in the SDN / NFV space, you can’t have missed the increase in the use of containers for deploying new services.

In the past 24 months, we’ve seen container networking emerge from the Linux server world and explode into the cloud. Previously the purview of programmers, containers are reaching into all aspects of cloud-based networks, whether part of a PaaS solution, or offered in the form of a new Container-as-a-Service (CaaS) model.

Container Networking Has Many Advantages:

  • Containers allow for speed and agility when developing new services – applications are self-contained with all the necessary libraries, binaries, and configuration files
  • Because all the system-level requirements are included in the container, the application itself is portable across multiple environments
  • Updating an application is as simple as replacing the container
  • Instead of deploying a VM per service, you can deploy multiple containers on a single VM, using a container service to manage the individual containers
  • Spinning up a new container is faster and more efficient than spinning up a VM-based service
  • Applications can be isolated from the infrastructure, with the associated security benefits

The challenge today is how to deploy containers in a scalable, manageable, and secure fashion, and to provide the necessary underlying network infrastructure.

Container clusters need to be able to connect to each other, which requires some form of virtual networking overlay – ideally one that can respond on demand in conjunction with the container service itself being spun up on demand. Containers may need access to databases and storage systems. And containers are themselves not concerned with security, relying on the underlying infrastructure to provide whatever secured connections are required.

To address these concerns, cloud orchestration and management vendors are quickly adding container management to their products.

How Does This All Tie in with SDN and NFV?

Well, one of the original goals of SDN was to create a more flexible, manageable, dynamic, and automated network infrastructure – exactly the type of infrastructure needed to support a container-based service.

We’re seeing an increasing integration of SDN, cloud management / orchestration, and IT DevOps automation. The division between “the server guys” and “the network guys” is disappearing, thanks to the business drivers, infrastructure needs, and compatibility requirements. This means that “the network guys” now need to know more than just those good old OSI layers; they need to understand the world of DevOps and containers in order to successfully manage this new integrated service-based world.

Coming Soon … Docker and Kubernetes Training

SDN Essentials has added a number of container networking classes to our training schedule. These Docker and Kubernetes workshops will provide your team with the training and hands-on experience they need to implement containers into your architecture.

  • Register now for these 1, 2, or 3 day workshops happening in May, 2018


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