Technology has reached an almost unbelievable point in terms of how quickly it is able to improve and evolve — just take a look at a smartphone from even just two years ago compared to high-end models being produced from Apple (News - Alert), Samsung, HTC and Nokia today and you'll get some idea of this. Of course, this isn't going to stop. As spectacular a year 2012 has been for technology, 2013 is going to be even more impressive.
However, smartphones aren't considered the technology to watch in 2013. According to Brocade (News - Alert) Networks' 2013 technology predictions, software defined networking (SDN) will be where the action is in the year to come. Put simply, service providers looking to reduce capital and operating expenditures while increasing service responsiveness will turn to SDN to, as the report puts it, "streamline service creation and foster innovative applications and services."
SDN allows networks and applications to connect, providing control over the network and orchestration layers, while accommodating the end-user applications needs. Put simply, SDN software will make networks cheaper to build, faster to configure and more efficient to operate.
Traditionally, software for controlling data communications in a network is managed by proprietary software which is vendor specific to the hardware. SDN allows data communications and control functions to be managed by one central program across all hardware.
This has huge implications for major networking vendors like Cisco, Juniper, HP and Brocade. Obviously, Brocade sees something worth going after with SDN, while Juniper recently bought up SDN company Contrail Systems in order to be prepared for SDN adoption. However, it isn't as simple as adopting this superior new technology.
There's risk in that many large network providers may not embrace SDN quickly enough or at all, despite the many obvious benefits — history is filled with examples with examples of superior technologies falling by the wayside, after all. As always, only time will tell how the situation will play out. Either way, major networking vendors are looking at a potentially tumultuous year.
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Edited by Rachel Ramsey