Software-defined networking in universities today is like the early Internet decades ago, and big-data researchers in genomics and other fields already need it for their next set of discoveries, according to the head of Internet2.
Internet2 runs a nationwide network linking research institutions, and it’s already using elements of Software- Defined Networking on its production infrastructure. SDN, a closely watched set of technologies at various stages of development, is supposed to shift the control of networks from specialized devices such as switches and routers to software that can run on standard computing platforms and be virtualized. The benefits can include lower costs, faster service deployment and more network innovation. Internet2 is operating a live, production pilot for SDN as well as a high-speed backbone to give academic users plenty of bandwidth for new applications. The organization has positioned OpenFlow-enabled routers, including gear from Juniper Networks and Brocade, on the 100-Gigabit Ethernet network. There are 29 major universities committed to bringing 100-Gigabit connections to their campuses and to using Internet2’s OpenFlow-based service.