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"This is one of the most significant things to come along in the last 10 years in networking,"…

Traditionally, much of the intelligence for controlling data communications is spread around a network, managed by proprietary software that comes with each vendor’s gear. In the SDN approach, those control functions are split off to be managed by one central program, which may be run on an inexpensive server system. Specialized switches and routers continue to handle other data-passing chores, but they don’t need to be as sophisticated as most current hardware.