A Hybrid Software Defined Network Platform for Undergraduate Research and Education

Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Software Defined Networks (SDNs) are leading the evolution toward network programmability and open architectures. While many corporations, nonprofits, and individuals have developed training on SDNs, the industry has a significant gap with the robustness of entrenched traditional network educational models, such as Cisco’s Networking Academy. The Department of Defense (DoD) will likely adopt some form of SDN into its global transport network at various tiers and authority boundaries. It is imperative for 21st century leaders to understand how and why the manner in which DoD provides Information Technology (IT) services to its customers is changing with such rapidity. Therefore, we developed three basic SDN course lessons as a base of knowledge and support and integrated a hybrid physical SDN research platform into existing laboratory infrastructure for faculty research and capstone projects for senior cadets. This was accomplished by leveraging existing SDN-related tutorials and resources and integrating them within a virtualized SDN simulation environment. The three lessons were developed for integration into our core networking course that describes fundamental networking concepts in the context of an SDN - with a centralized control plane, while ensuring lesson learning objectives were achievable by non-technical majors yet sufficiently comprehensive across the fundamental operations of an SDN. The hybrid research platform consists of a number of Virtual Machines (VMs) running Mininet1 - an SDN simulation environment - and hosted on a VMware vSphere cluster with direct connectivity to twelve physical openflow-capable switches. This will allow students in the networking course to plan, design, implement, and test a basic SDN topology in either a virtual, physical, or hybrid environment. In addition, it will provide topological and experimental flexibility to student and faculty researchers and senior capstone project teams alike.
Software Defined Networking, Department of Defense, Undergraduate Technical Education
Sturzinger, Eric and Cilenti, Steven, "A Hybrid Software Defined Network Platform for Undergraduate Research and Education" (2019).