What is Open-Source Networking?

5 mins

What is Open-Source Networking? Networks are always changing and the lines around so-ca...

What is Open-Source Networking? 

Networks are always changing and the lines around so-called ‘open-source’ networking are blurred. Open-source software has been around for some time, but there’s now a push towards open-networking because of its flexibility and scope for automation. Software-defined networking (SDN) is another approach to network management that allows for more dynamic, improved performance.

But, more simply, what are these principles, how are they accessible, and how are they benefitting networking?

What is Open-Source?

Open-source software is code that’s available for anyone – developers, engineers, vendors, etc – to develop, use, modify and contribute to. The model has revolutionised how software is obtained and created in organisations, increasing efficiency, reducing costs, and allowing for more intuitive development.

Making this code available to the public allows people to learn, collaborate and even improve the existing software through modifications. While flexible, the code is not always free, however, with it often available through a license, such as the General Public License, with terms and conditions. For instance, the author’s name must be kept unchanged and accepted before any modifications are made. This method can be particularly convenient for organisations when creating communication paths and creating interactive communities.

Many people who focus on developing specific software, such as developers, engineers, service providers and vendors have joined open-source projects to streamline their operations. A staggering 77% of IT leaders now have a more favourable view of enterprise open-source than previously, leading to many specialists joining open-source projects to make their operations smoother. This also enables them to tailor network programming like switch, security and routing to the organisation’s needs, offering more overall control.

What Is Open-Networking?

Open-networking is a new approach to networking that has been designed to facilitate more flexibility in its products. It focuses on deconstructing the code and hardware to create an efficient, cost-effective, and accessible network that can be adapted and modified within various environments and requirements. This system gives you the ability to choose different devices, software and operating methods, providing lower costs, increased performance and an increased return on investment for businesses.

What Is Software-Defined Networking?

SDN is an architecture that uses software-based controllers to communicate with existing hardware infrastructure on a network. The concept is different to traditional networks which use specific hardware to control the system and traffic. It allows providers to improve network resources and respond efficiently to ever-changing business requirements.

What is the Difference Between Open-Source, Open-Networking and Software-Defined Networking?

Open-source is software or programming that is available for public use and open-networking is the interoperability of software to create better flexibility and automation across networks. SDN and open-source play important roles in achieving open-networking, but they also have differences. SDN can be open-source but many SDN architectures remain proprietary to their vendors. It is, however, valued for its functionality and efficient network management and its appeal lies in the advantages of capability and effective network control, which is attractive to vendors.

The pandemic and economy have driven open-source networking improvements, permitting better efficiency and lower costs. While some challenge the security of open-source code, the contributions of multiple developers and engineers – provided its from a reputable source – promotes greater stability. As more and more businesses depend on increasingly complex computing to drive their businesses forward, the nature of open-source code makes it a highly viable resource for a range of organisations, who can extract what they need and modify it according to their requirements.

Budget-friendly, user-friendly, and versatile, companies are seeing how open-source options are improving their software and processes, ultimately leading to better performance.

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