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Like the wave of virtualization that led companies to shift from dedicated, barely utilized server hardware to shared, virtual compute capacity, the network is in the nascent stages of a similar transformation. Software-defined networks apply comparable virtualization techniques to the network itself, replacing hardware with software that enables you to easily control everything from load balancing to firewalls.
Starting in the data center, dedicated, physical, monolithic network hardware, often deployed as a resilient pair per data center, is being replaced by virtual software that can be distributed to create logical networks on an application specific (or portfolio of application) basis. Unlike physical equipment, which can take weeks to procure and deploy, virtual network components can be deployed and configured much more rapidly, increasing speed of delivery by the IT organization.
Eventually, network virtualization will expand from the data center to the traffic routing enterprise Wide Area Network (WAN) that connects corporate locations. Although not as mature yet, software defined networking in the WAN will allow IT organizations to dynamically change the paths, in real-time, that application traffic traverses.
Accenture has begun moving down the path toward network virtualization in our data centers with virtual network software, and plans to continue the journey with office and wide-area network virtualization in due course. As the evolving enterprise presents ever greater demands, including more bandwidth for voice, video and multimedia, corporations need better performance from more scalable, flexible architectures, as well as the agility to change the network configuration quickly to meet shifting business goals.
View more on Accenture CIO’s IT Report 2013-2014:
View the full IT Report
March 3, 2014
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