The Management Plane Explained

The term management plane refers to all functions and protocols administrators use to manage networking devices. These functions and protocols do not impact the data flows.

There are two types of networking environments: traditional and SDN. The traditional networking environment uses a flat network architecture.

The SDN networking environment uses a layered architecture. It divides network functionality into three types: data plane, control plane, and management plane.

In the data plane, it keeps all the functions that move data between devices. The following tutorial explains this plane in detail.

The Data Plane Explained

In the control plane, it keeps all the functions that generate and provide the information the data plane needs to move the data. The following tutorial explains this plane in detail.

The Control Plane Explained

In the management plane, it keeps all the functions we use to manage the networking devices. We will discuss, this plane in this tutorial.

The management plane

Forwarding data is the primary job of all network devices. Different network devices use separate logic to make forwarding decisions. For example, routers use the routing table, while switches use the cam table to make forwarding decisions.

The forwarding happens in the data plane. To make forwarding desicision, the data plane needs information. For example, routers need IP routes in the routing table before the data plane can forward packets. Layer 2 switches need entries in the CAM table before they can forward frames.

The control plane provides the information the data plane needs to work. In other words, the information supplied to the data plane controls what the data plane does.

The management plane includes the functions and protocols administrators use to manage devices. These protocols and functions do not impact the control and data planes. For example, administrators use Telnet and SSH to remotely access a network device. Telnet and SSH are the management plane's protocols. Many routers do not support these protocols. They can still build routing tables and forward data packets.

Let us take an example.

data plane

PC1 sends a data packet to PC2. The packet reaches the connected switch. The switch's data plane uses the cam table to forward it to the router R1. The control plane on the switch builds the cam table entries the data plane uses to make the forwarding decision.

R1's data plane receives it from the switch and reads the routing table to make the forwarding decision. R2's data plane gets it from R1's data plane, processes it, and forwards it to R3's data plane. R3's data plane processes and forwards it to PC2. Control planes on R1, R2, and R3 build the routing table entries, which they use to make the forwarding decisions.

If the administrator wants to make any change in the configuration running on the switch, R1, R2, or R3, he has to access these devices through a console cable or remote management protocols.

All functions, actions, and steps that the administrator performs to connect these devices are part of the management plane. In other words, the management plane describes how administrators can access network devices for management purposes.

Key points: -

In an SDN network, a management plane is responsible for the following things and functions.

  • Running management protocols such as Telnet and SSH.
  • Accepting remote connections for management
  • Providing and supporting local interface for console connections
  • Updating the device's OS
  • Managing the backup of the running OS

ComputerNetworkingNotes CCNA Study Guide The Management Plane Explained