Hybrid Software-Defined-Network


A Hybrid Software-Defined Network (SDN) refers to a networking architecture that combines traditional, hardware-based network infrastructure with more flexible, software-controlled elements. This approach allows organizations to gradually transition from legacy systems to SDN while reaping the benefits of centralized management, programmability, and scalability. In hybrid SDN, the control plane is split between both hardware and software, enabling optimized performance and enhanced network adaptability.


The phonetic spelling of “Hybrid Software-Defined-Network” is as follows:Hybrid – /ˈhaɪ.brɪd/Software – /ˈsɒf.t.wɛər/Defined – /dɪˈfaɪnd/Network – /ˈnɛt.wɜrk/

Key Takeaways

  1. Hybrid SDN combines the benefits of traditional networking and software-defined networking, allowing organizations to take advantage of SDN functionality while maintaining existing infrastructure.
  2. This approach enables businesses to smoothly transition to a fully software-defined network over time, minimizing the risk of disruption and maximizing return on investment from existing network devices.
  3. Key features of hybrid SDN include centralized management and policy enforcement, flexible traffic engineering, and improved network visibility and analysis, providing a more agile and efficient network.


The term Hybrid Software-Defined-Network (SDN) is important because it represents an innovative approach that combines the best features of both traditional networking and software-defined networking.

By integrating the flexibility, programmability, and centralized control of SDN with the proven stability and performance of traditional networks, hybrid SDNs enable organizations to manage and scale their networks more efficiently and cost-effectively.

This convergence not only streamlines network management and optimizes resource utilization but also paves the way for enhanced security, rapid deployment of new services, and support for emerging trends like cloud computing and IoT.

Therefore, the significance of hybrid SDNs lies in their potential to revolutionize the networking landscape and drive digital transformation across various industries.


Hybrid Software-Defined-Network (SDN) is designed to address the challenges and limitations of traditional networking infrastructure by incorporating a blend of both traditional and software-defined networking approaches. The primary purpose of a hybrid SDN is to enable modern organizations to transition seamlessly from their existing networking infrastructure to a more agile, scalable, and efficient software-defined networking model.

This approach allows companies to take advantage of the benefits of software-defined networking without having to completely overhaul their existing systems, thereby reducing costs and minimizing disruption to their daily operations. In a hybrid SDN, the network’s control plane, responsible for making decisions on how data should be routed within the network, is separated from the data plane, which is responsible for actually moving the data packets.

This allows for centralized control and management of the entire network through a software-based controller. Consequently, network administrators can easily make adjustments to network resources, optimize traffic flow, and rapidly respond to changing requirements without the need for manual intervention.

As a result, hybrid SDN helps organizations improve their overall network performance, enhance security, and reduce operational costs, making it an increasingly popular choice for businesses seeking to modernize their networking infrastructure while still retaining control over their current hardware investments.

Examples of Hybrid Software-Defined-Network

Hybrid Software-Defined Networks (SDN) combine traditional networking with software-defined networking, allowing centralized control and increased flexibility. Here are three real-world examples where Hybrid SDN is being used:Google’s B4 Network:Google designed its private B4 network infrastructure to meet the growing connectivity demands of its global data centers. B4 incorporates Hybrid SDN architecture, allowing Google to optimize traffic flows, reduce latency, and control the bandwidth allocation between different services. By utilizing both traditional hardware-based switches and software-defined networking technologies, Google has been able to develop a highly reliable, secure, and scalable network.

AT&T’s Domain0:AT&T’s Domain

0 initiative is a shift toward a software-driven, programmable network architecture aimed at providing more agile services to their customers. With this transformation, AT&T integrated Hybrid SDN into its infrastructure, using both traditional and software-defined components. This approach has enabled the telecommunication giant to innovate and offer new services rapidly, while also optimizing network performance and reducing operational costs.Deutsche Telekom’s TeraStream:Deutsche Telekom, a German telecommunications company, has deployed a Hybrid SDN solution called TeraStream. TeraStream is designed to simplify network operations and improve end-user experiences. By integrating traditional network elements with software-defined networking, Deutsche Telekom has created an innovative solution that enables dynamic service provisioning, network slicing, and granular control over their infrastructure. This Hybrid SDN approach has also helped the company to reduce operational costs and bring new services to market quickly.

FAQ: Hybrid Software-Defined-Network

1. What is a Hybrid Software-Defined-Network?

A Hybrid Software-Defined-Network (SDN) is a networking approach that combines traditional network architecture with SDN principles, allowing organizations to transition from traditional networks to software-defined networking without a complete overhaul of their existing infrastructure. This approach brings flexibility, programmability, and centralized control while still maintaining compatibility with existing network devices.

2. What are the benefits of using Hybrid SDN?

Some benefits of using a Hybrid SDN include: simplified network management, increased network agility, ability to use existing and new network devices together, reduced risk when transitioning to SDN, and cost savings due to the ability to gradually phase out legacy devices as needed.

3. How does Hybrid SDN differ from traditional networking and pure SDN?

Traditional networking relies on proprietary hardware and pre-configured network devices, often making networks inflexible and difficult to manage. Pure SDN decouples the control plane from the data plane, centralizes control, and allows network programmability. Hybrid SDN combines the best of these two approaches, providing the benefits of SDN while allowing organizations to leverage their existing network hardware and reduce risk.

4. Are there any specific use cases where Hybrid SDN would be particularly beneficial?

Hybrid SDN is particularly beneficial in large-scale enterprise networks, multi-site deployments, and data center networking. It can also help service providers looking to transition to SDN without the need to replace their existing infrastructure completely. Additionally, organizations with strict compliance requirements or legacy devices that cannot be immediately replaced can benefit from the gradual transition offered by Hybrid SDN.

5. What are the potential challenges of implementing a Hybrid SDN?

Potential challenges of implementing a Hybrid SDN include: the need for both traditional and SDN skills, ensuring compatibility between existing devices and the new SDN infrastructure, and the requirement to modify existing network management and monitoring processes to accommodate the hybrid approach. Additionally, organizations may face vendor lock-in and interoperability issues, requiring careful consideration when selecting SDN solutions and components.

Related Technology Terms


  • Network Virtualization
  • Control Plane
  • [iVaricapoll_followup.attachment.uuid.randomUUID().toString()+’]5%'[

    Sources for More Information

    • Network World (
    • SDxCentral (
    • (
    • ResearchGate (

About The Authors

The DevX Technology Glossary is reviewed by technology experts and writers from our community. Terms and definitions continue to go under updates to stay relevant and up-to-date. These experts help us maintain the almost 10,000+ technology terms on DevX. Our reviewers have a strong technical background in software development, engineering, and startup businesses. They are experts with real-world experience working in the tech industry and academia.

See our full expert review panel.

These experts include:


About Our Editorial Process

At DevX, we’re dedicated to tech entrepreneurship. Our team closely follows industry shifts, new products, AI breakthroughs, technology trends, and funding announcements. Articles undergo thorough editing to ensure accuracy and clarity, reflecting DevX’s style and supporting entrepreneurs in the tech sphere.

See our full editorial policy.

More Technology Terms

Technology Glossary

Table of Contents