Gartner Research

Software-Defined Networking and Its Implications for Security

Published: 15 February 2013

ID: G00248490

Analyst(s): Eric Maiwald


Software-defined networking makes networks more flexible and better able to respond to new business needs by separating the data and control planes. SDN may provide significant networking and security benefits to an enterprise, but moving to an SDN environment may also increase risk in the network.

Table Of Contents

Summary of Findings


  • Drivers for SDN
  • SDN Components
    • Infrastructure Layer
    • Control Layer
    • Application Layer
    • Traffic Flow in SDN
  • Security Considerations for SDN Environments
    • Infrastructure Layer Security Implications
    • Control Layer Security Implications
    • Application Layer Security Implications
    • Operational Issues
  • Strengths
  • Weaknesses
  • Do Not Overreact to SDN Hype
  • Build Interdisciplinary Teams to Implement SDN
  • Determine How Existing Control Requirements Can Be Met With SDN
  • Examine How SDN Impacts Separation of Duties
  • Discuss SDN With Existing Security Vendors, and Determine If Their Road Maps Meet Your Needs

The Details

  • Scenarios
    • Scenario A: Network Security Policy Enforcement
    • Scenario B: Network Security Monitoring
    • Scenario C: Response to Events
  • OpenFlow

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