Software defined networks are set to do for networking what virtualisation has done for servers. There’s a great story explaining them in the Sydney Morning Herald’s ITPro section.

Virtual machines turn a single physical server into what appears as several separate computers. SDN separates network hardware from the controlling software. This means switches and routers can be reconfigured and orchestrated just like virtual servers.

Managing a network becomes flexible and dynamic.

Software defined networks, the Next Big Thing

When companies first virtualised servers, it was mainly about consolidating resources. Quickly they found other benefits and the flexibility meant entire systems could be reconfigured at the drop of a hat. That’s probably what will happen to networks. You can expect rapid changes in storage technology as SDN gains acceptance.

Although few New Zealand businesses run their own networks on a scale that can benefit from software defined networks at the moment, you can expect telcos, cloud computing companies and other service providers to use them in coming months.

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