Software Defined Networking for Clouds


Software Defined Networking (SDN) is a technology that has introduced an important paradigm shift in the networking world. With the OpenFlow protocol as a main technological enabler, the essential goal is to extend the conventional network configuration approach by introducing the concept of network control and programmability.

The advances in the OpenFlow protocol and the strong community involved in the OpenDaylight (ODL) framework has significantly leveraged SDN over the past few years, which booked it a ticket as a de-facto technology in the datacenter network management journey. To follow this initiative, OpenStack has been a pioneer technology that urged to provide a direct SDN support for Neutron. Such approach has introduced new challenges arising from the direct mapping of network traffic between the physical hosts and the virtual tenant networks.

Identifying scenarios that embrace different issues to consider, has a high priority in the current SDN world. With the main focus on SDN-managed datacenter networks, this initiative will provide a technical implementation and know-how on managing cloud-based network resources in a straightforward manner.


The “SDN for clouds at the ICCLab” mission involves: establishing use cases, revealing potential issues, analyzing alternative approaches and optimizations in order to achieve efficient networking for classical datacenters, network carriers, Internet Service Providers and Cloud providers. The tasks to achieve this include:

  • Provide on-demand, scalable, commodity deployment to facilitate SDN knowledge transfer to academia and business partners
  • Provide Network as a Service for the tenants
  • Monitor and optimize intra-cloud-traffic
  • Automate changing flows with the SDN-controller
  • Minimize complexity of the network logic
  • Efficient handling of QoS and QoE network parameters
  • Independent network-hardware vendors

Research Challenges

The on-going technology and protocols applied to cloud networking are not optimal in terms of resource usage, reliability, deployment and maintenance. For example, the current implementation of Open Stack Neutron relies on different tunnelling mechanisms in order to provide isolation and multi-tenancy support. From a network application developer point of view, this is inefficient since it injects additional overhead and impedes a transparent application development.

To address the issues in that context, we define the following research tasks:

  • Reconsider the current concepts and state of the art proposals and determine a sophisticated solution towards optimized SDN design for modern cloud architectures
  • Define competitive use cases as direct controllers and evaluators of our SDN solution
  • Provide a high level framework for management of cloud based network resources in a uniform manner

Relevance to current and future markets

Having in-house deployment implies an up and running environment prepared to leverage ideas deployed and tested over commodity-hardware. The ICCLab SDN testbed will essentially facilitate the validation of use cases towards comprehensive solutions. The high-level framework on top of the ODL controller will provide smart virtual datacenter management in OpenStack deployments, and potentially target industry partners among the content delivery network companies, like Akamai for example, IPTV and streaming service providers. We also aim to expand the cooperation by exchanging technical expertise with industry partners involved in the SDN-Cloud field.


Articles and Info

Contact Point

Irena Trajkovska –