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April 2017, Vol. 6, No. 4

Software-based networking brings new automation perks, challenges

The world of networking is moving rapidly to software-based systems that offer automated provisioning, improved management and security, and better support for DevOps-style application development. The automation benefits of software-based networking are critical to support the adoption of new IT and network architectures, including hybrid cloud and the internet of things. Traditionally, networks were built with hardware-based platforms optimized for specific functions. These boxes include routers, Ethernet switches, Wi-Fi controllers, server load balancers and network security appliances, such as firewalls and intrusion-detection systems. Network hardware typically runs complex, distributed control software -- all with unique provisioning and management systems. Provisioning and management requirements vary by the type of networking and the network location. Provisioning and modifying hardware-based networks is a time-consuming manual process and one that requires trained network professionals. The emergence of software-based ...

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