There was a time when giants like Cisco & Juniper were considered to be the Kings in the Networking domain. You had a very limited choice of solutions, most of which were vendor dependent no matter whatsoever solution you required. Had it been LAN environment, people used to refer Cisco Catalyst series. For Firewalls, most used to recommend Juniper Firewalls. For WAN, again Cisco used to rule the Internet Cloud.
But change is the only uniform property this world has got… !
Machines got more power then before.. with comparatively smarter sizes. In return, developers started feeling more flexible to use enhanced resources in an efficient manner. The end result was.. the approach towards softwares that could emulate various hardware logics while staying within single software. MATLAB, OPNET and other applications gave users the freedom of simulating multiple hardware technologies without buying the hardware. And probably that was where many started dreaming about Software Defined Networks…
The first ever SDN Application I used was Vyatta. We were deploying PTMP WiMesh Network across an educational institute where we were informed about a wish to secure a web portal on Local Area Network and it them available to specific users based on their MAC addresses. Pre-installed Microsoft ISA was unable to do so. Cisco could, but buying a Cisco would have increased the expenses, something always discouraged. The College was having over 3000 users and yet we decided to take a chance. We tried to configure Vyatta Network OS in CLI Mode. Interestingly.. it worked beautifully. Not only this, we enabled Firewall and Proxy Server too on the same network. The results were soothing and beyond our positive imaginations. Later on, I tried PfSense and Monowall in corporate environments and they worked superb.
Open Source has gifted us with the freedom we could never imagine of. We now have smart choices and alternates to proprietary vendors. Talking of Carrier Class VoIP Networks, we’ve got Open Source Kamailio. OpenFlow is being developed as a greatest Open Source Routing Protocol. Asterisk Open Source Telephony Engine can single handedly beat any IP PBX. FreeSwitch can be used alternatively in LAN environment. I have seen FreeRADIUS in ISP environments, running with great efficiency. People are using Vyatta as Open Source Firewall and PfSense as Open Source Load Balancer.
SDN is the future of Networks and we are thankful to our Open Source Community to make this possible.
P.S: If you’re running an all Open Source environment, please do share your scenarios.