Prepare for software to eat your data centre

As with cloud computing and big data, a new networking technology is being hyped. So, before too many technology companies claim to have the best “software-defined networks” product (software defined what?), the movement’s inventor has a few words of caution – and hope – for Australia’s technology decision makers.

When designing their data centres, Australian enterprises are often inspired by Facebook and Google but they are unlikely to emulate the titans’ networking success without a lot of help.

That is because big internet companies control their networks down to bespoke hardware, says Martin Casado, leader of the software-defined networking (SDN) movement he pioneered at Stanford University.

“The only way to do it is if you control the platform or application,” Casado says. “If I’m Google, I can do this because I write the application and I consume these functionalities”. Other businesses don’t have that flexibility, he says.

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