SDN Technologies

Applies To: Windows Server (Semi-Annual Channel), Windows Server 2016

The topics in this section provide overview and technical information about the Software Defined Networking technologies that are included in Windows Server 2016.


For additional Software Defined Networking documentation, you can use the following library sections.

There are many technologies that work together to create Microsoft's Software Defined Networking (SDN) solutions, including the following:

  • Border Gateway Protocol (BGP)

    When configured on a Windows Server 2016 Remote Access Service (RAS) Gateway, Border Gateway Protocol (BGP) provides you with the ability to manage the routing of network traffic between your tenants' VM networks and their remote sites. BGP reduces the need for manual route configuration on routers because it is a dynamic routing protocol, and automatically learns routes between sites that are connected by using site-to-site VPN connections.

  • Datacenter Firewall Overview

    Datacenter Firewall is a new service included with Windows Server 2016. It is a network layer, 5-tuple (protocol, source and destination port numbers, source and destination IP addresses), stateful, multitenant firewall. When deployed and offered as a service by the service provider, tenant administrators can install and configure firewall policies to help protect their virtual networks from unwanted traffic originating from Internet and intranet networks.

  • Hyper-V Network Virtualization

    Hyper-V Network Virtualization (HNV) enables virtualization of customer networks on top of a shared physical network infrastructure.

  • Internal DNS Service (iDNS) for SDN

    Hosted virtual machines (VMs) and applications require DNS to communicate within their own networks and with external resources on the Internet. With iDNS, you can provide tenants with DNS name resolution services for their isolated, local name space and for Internet resources.

  • Network Controller

    The network controller provides a centralized, programmable point of automation to manage, configure, monitor, and troubleshoot virtual and physical network infrastructure in your datacenter.

  • Network Function Virtualization

    Network functions that are being performed by hardware appliances (such as load balancers, firewalls, routers, switches, and so on) are increasingly being virtualized as virtual appliances.

    Microsoft has virtualized networks, switches, gateways, NATs, load balancers, and firewalls.

  • RAS Gateway for SDN

    RAS Gateway is a software-based, multitenant, Border Gateway Protocol (BGP) capable router in Windows Server 2016 that is designed for Cloud Service Providers (CSPs) and Enterprises that host multiple tenant virtual networks using Hyper-V Network Virtualization.

  • Remote Direct Memory Access (RDMA) and Switch Embedded Teaming (SET)

    You can use a converged NIC to combine both RDMA and Ethernet traffic using a single network adapter. The converged NIC allows you to use a single network adapter for management, Remote Direct Memory Access (RDMA)-enabled storage, and tenant traffic. This reduces the capital expenditures that are associated with each server in your datacenter, because you need fewer network adapters to manage different types of traffic per server.

    SET is a NIC Teaming solution that is integrated in the Hyper-V Virtual Switch. SET allows the teaming of up to eight physical NICS into a single SET team, which improves availability and provides failover. In Windows Server 2016, you can create SET teams that are restricted to the use of Server Message Block (SMB) and RDMA.

  • Software Load Balancing (SLB) for SDN

    Cloud Service Providers (CSPs) and Enterprises that are deploying Software Defined Networking (SDN) in Windows Server 2016 can use Software Load Balancing (SLB) to evenly distribute tenant and tenant customer network traffic among virtual network resources. The Windows Server SLB enables multiple servers to host the same workload, providing high availability and scalability.

  • System Center You can use System Center 2016 Virtual Machine Manager (VMM) and Operations Manager to deploy and manage the SDN infrastructure, including network controllers, software load balancers, and gateways. You can also use VMM to centrally define and control virtual network policies and link the policies to your applications or workloads.

  • Windows Containers

    Windows Server Containers are a lightweight operating system virtualization method used to separate applications or services from other services that are running on the same container host. To enable this, each container has its own view of the operating system, processes, file system, registry, and IP addresses. With Windows Server 2016, you can now connect Windows Server containers to virtual networks. Windows containers function similarly to virtual machines in regards to networking. Each container has a virtual network adapter that is connected to a virtual switch, over which inbound and outbound traffic is forwarded. To enforce isolation between containers on the same host, a network compartment is created for each Windows Server and Hyper-V Container into which the network adapter for the container is installed. Windows Server containers use a Host vNIC to attach to the virtual switch. Hyper-V Containers use a Synthetic VM NIC (not exposed to the Utility VM) to attach to the virtual switch.