Protecting software-defined networks: The Open Security Controller


Software-defined networks (SDN) move networking from the physical to the virtual. Projects such as OpenDaylight and OpenContrail have become essential to telecom and cloud companies where networking configurations must be made in micro-seconds. SDNs are well on their way to becoming mainstream technology. But, as the publication CSO recently pointed out, “SDN solves a lot of network problems, but security isn’t one of them.” That’s where the Open Security Controller (OSC) Project steps in.

OSC is a new Linux Foundation project. It’s designed to bring automated protection to software-defined networks. In particular, it’s designed to bring security orchestration to multi-cloud and hybrid environments. Since your network extends across business domains in these circumstances, security is vitally important.

“Software-defined networks are becoming a standard for businesses, and open source networking projects are a key element in helping the transition, and pushing for a more automated network,” said Arpit Joshipura, The Linux Foundation’s general manager of Networking and Orchestration, in a statement. “Equally important to automation in the open-source community is ensuring security. OSC touches both of these areas.”

The name of the OSC game is to automate the deployment of virtualized network security functions such as firewalls, intrusion prevention systems (IPS) and application data controllers.

OSC’s founding members include Huawei, Intel, McAfee, Nokia’s Nuage Networks and Palo Alto Networks. That’s good, but there’s a problem here. Other major SDN code contributors such as Brocade, Cisco, Ericsson and Red Hat for OpenDaylight; and Juniper, Canonical, Mirantis and NTT for OpenContrail aren’t on board. For OSC to gain traction it will need support from these and other SDN companies.

While we wait and see what happens with finding more support, OSC is being designed to meet the following criteria:

  • Provide a software-defined security orchestration solution that automates deployment of virtualized network security functions such as firewalls, IPS and application-delivery controllers.
  • Enable East-West (i.e., server to server) data center security, which is scalable and reduces threats in software-defined network environments.
  • Simply and automate security management and compliance.
  • Offer users the flexibility they need to choose the security technology that is best suited to their needs.

Speaking as a former network administrator, I hope OSC’s programmers make all this happen. But, to do that, they’re going to need more supporters than they have today.


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  1. Hi,
    Thank you for all your efforts and I know that they will be payed!
    I have a one question, in software-defined networking, Do all switches have direct physical links to the controller? What is the open source for software defined networking?

    Liked by 1 person


  1. […] Protecting software-defined networks: The Open Security Controller […]


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