Welcome back to Acing the A+, FSET’s guide to CompTIA A+ Certification! Whether you’re gunning for career in IT or just looking to brush up on your knowledge, this is a great place for you to start and learn more about computers. Today, we’ll be talking about the cloud and how software is used for networking.
Thanks to the rise of the Internet, cloud computing has revolutionized how networks can be set up. While older networks often relied solely on physical hardware, newer networks can now be established virtually via internet connections. Instead of being based on hardware, these networks function through software, which doesn’t ‘physically’ exist.
As any system administrator, and they’ll probably be able to tell you about Software Defined Networking (SDN). SDN is an approach to creating digital switches, routers and firewalls that can be used as software to create networks in the cloud. While a digital switch wouldn’t physically exist, the idea of it would as code on the internet, allowing it to perform essentially the same exact function as a kind of software.
When breaking down and turning physical hardware into software, programmers commonly use three stagers or layers to create a sense of consistency for all transitions. The first layer is the infrastructure layer, which is also known as the data plane of the device in question. This plane is responsible for forwarding, encrypting, network addresses, and anything else that deals with packets of information.
Second is the control layer or control plane, which is where network traffic is directed. Packet control protocols, such as dynamic routing, translation tables and more are controlled in this plane. If the infrastructure layer is mail, the control layer is the mailman.
Finally, there is the application layer or management plane. Once turned into software, the device must provide users with a way in, which is usually done with an Application Programming Interface (API). This is the creation of a visible virtual representation of the device that can be interacted with, such as on a computer screen.
Together, all three layers create the pieces that make up cloud-based networks. Network administrators typically access with virtual networks through specific applications designed for interfacing, although there are other ways – such as secure shells and simple network management protocol – professionals may use. This process enables software defined networks to exist within, and as a part of physical networks, such as a SharePoint site for a work team hosted on an MSP’s private physical server.