Monitoring an SDN, Part 3 (Management System Architecture)

Terry Slattery
Principal Architect

The third in the series on SDN monitoring (Monitoring a Software Defined Network, Part 3) talks about the management system architecture. What factors drive the placement of monitoring system components? What drives the overall architecture? Are there any really important factors that determine how an SDN monitoring system should be designed?

I’m starting to see some interest in the concept of monitoring an SDN, with blogs by Cengiz Alaettinoglu, SDN Management: Risks and Challenges and Tom Hollingsworth, Focus on SDN Tools Obscures SDN Benefits.

I’m sure that there are vendors who suggest that their controller is all that’s needed to monitor an SDN. They may be right, if they’ve done a lot of work to add the necessary functionality. But I’ll bet that most vendors (and probably all) will have cut corners to get their controller released and that it doesn’t include all the functionality that is really required to adequately monitor an SDN.

When talking with vendors about SDN, make sure to ask how their system will facilitate troubleshooting when things go wrong. Learn what you’ll need to do to diagnose a bad link that’s preventing the controller from talking with a portion of the network. How will the SDN report that a controller died or rebooted? Will the system enable the network team to quickly detect and correct problems with links to critical application servers? In other words, don’t jump into SDN without understanding how to integrate it into your current IT operations.


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Nick Kelly

Cybersecurity Engineer, Cisco

Nick has over 20 years of experience in Security Operations and Security Sales. He is an avid student of cybersecurity and regularly engages with the Infosec community at events like BSides, RVASec, Derbycon and more. The son of an FBI forensics director, Nick holds a B.S. in Criminal Justice and is one of Cisco’s Fire Jumper Elite members. When he’s not working, he writes cyberpunk and punches aliens on his Playstation.


Virgilio “BONG” dela Cruz Jr.

CCDP, CCNA V, CCNP, Cisco IPS Express Security for AM/EE
Field Solutions Architect, Tech Data

Virgilio “Bong” has sixteen years of professional experience in IT industry from academe, technical and customer support, pre-sales, post sales, project management, training and enablement. He has worked in Cisco Technical Assistance Center (TAC) as a member of the WAN and LAN Switching team. Bong now works for Tech Data as the Field Solutions Architect with a focus on Cisco Security and holds a few Cisco certifications including Fire Jumper Elite.


John Cavanaugh

CCIE #1066, CCDE #20070002, CCAr
Chief Technology Officer, Practice Lead Security Services, NetCraftsmen

John is our CTO and the practice lead for a talented team of consultants focused on designing and delivering scalable and secure infrastructure solutions to customers across multiple industry verticals and technologies. Previously he has held several positions including Executive Director/Chief Architect for Global Network Services at JPMorgan Chase. In that capacity, he led a team managing network architecture and services.  Prior to his role at JPMorgan Chase, John was a Distinguished Engineer at Cisco working across a number of verticals including Higher Education, Finance, Retail, Government, and Health Care.

He is an expert in working with groups to identify business needs, and align technology strategies to enable business strategies, building in agility and scalability to allow for future changes. John is experienced in the architecture and design of highly available, secure, network infrastructure and data centers, and has worked on projects worldwide. He has worked in both the business and regulatory environments for the design and deployment of complex IT infrastructures.