Review: SDN and OpenFlow for Beginners

I have just finished reading SDN and OpenFlow for beginners with Hands on Labs by Vivek Tiwari, and I can honestly say that I was really impressed. If you have read a few of my posts before then you probably know that I am not a fan of overly expensive books – and this is really good value for money. It’s not a long book and is priced very reasonably at $7.99.

SDN and OpenFlow for Beginners

Vivek is a double CCIE (Routing and Switching and Service Provider) and his experience within the field and as a mentor definitely comes through. His writing style is friendly and anecdotal making what could be a very dry topic come across as interesting and fun.

SDN and OpenFlow for Beginners

The book is split into two parts.

An introduction to OpenFlow and SDN

Part one covers “What is SDN?” where we get a very good technical and also non-technical breakdown of what SDN actually does and a history of SDN and OpenFlow. He then goes into greater depth explaining CAM and TCAM functions, and why these are important to understand in order to benefit from what SDN has to offer.

With a good understanding of CAM and TCAM he then explains the concepts behind flows and actions, before going into the OpenFlow protocol, and then into the advantages of OpenFlow, and how it can benefit the different areas of the business from both a financial standpoint and from an engineering view.

Lastly, in part one we have the future of SDN.

Hands on Labs on SDN using OpenFlow

Part two is where the real fun starts. Vivek walks us through setting up our own little lab using freely available tools, and a great example of using OpenFlow to manage our network. He walks us through installing OpenDaylight, mininet, VMWare player, and some other tools, such as Putty, we well as a quick pointer in how to snoop on OpenFlow conversations in Wireshark.

The examples may not be extensive, but this is not meant to be an extensive book, it’s meant to get you up and running. That said the example he gives, of using OpenDaylight to set the default gateway for our switches is a very good and relevant one that shows the power of the SDN tools at our command.

Overall thoughts

This is a really good book. It’s priced really nicely and it won’t take long to read. The formatting for kindle is well done, which for a technical book is not the easiest thing in the world, and it is very easy to read.

If you have any interest in SDN, and really you should as it’s going to take off massively over the next couple of years then you should definitely buy this book.