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Software Defined DDoS Protection: Next Generation or Marketing Hype?

Akamai Software Defined DDoSAkamai (NASDAQ: AKAM) says software defined DDoS protection is cutting edge, and now they’re doing it.

What the Heck is a Software Defined Network?

Software Defined Networks (SDNs) have been a thing for a while now, particularly in clouds and large enterprises.  Someone realized that when your entire datacenter consists of VMs, the physical paths of the switches are only one part of the problem.  If some customer has a VM on servers 127, 388,1431, 2290, and 8859, they may want to group those together into their own network segment with access rules, etc.

Moving all those VMs to a specific server would defeat the purpose, so there’s a virtual networking layer on top of the real networking layer, and it is software-defined.

Akamai Prolexic

Akamai’s DDoS protection offering is Prolexic.  Yesterday they announced

…a global rollout of new, fully software-defined scrubbing centers, which will extend its dedicated defense capacity to 20 Tbps.  The initial rollout commences in Q3 2022 and continues in 2023 with additional centers being deployed in all major regions, including North America (US-East/West, Canada), Europe (Italy, Spain, Switzerland), Asia (India, Japan, Hong Kong), and the Middle East.

Unfortunately the announcement is a little light on implementation details.

Obviously, the more that systems are defined in software, the more you instantly reconfigure them, so what I get from reading Akamai’s press is that they’ll be able to amp up (and further automate) their analysis and response.  I’m guessing – and if you know more, please enlighten us in the comments below! – that it’s easier to make this reactive adjustments to emerging attacks more quickly when you’re dealing with APIs as opposed to Cisco IOS on routers, but I’m speculating.

What do you think about software-defined DDoS protection?  Marketing hype or genuine progress?  Let us know your thoughts below!


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