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As more organizations require additional flexibility to operate their infrastructure, software-defined networking is one way to help administrators keep pace with those demands.
Virtual machines and storage have powerful virtualization capabilities, but networks have remained largely bare metal, requiring manual setup and configuration for new segments and security. Software-defined networking (SDN) tightens this technology gap, allowing administrators to centrally create and manage networks. Microsoft SDN functionality in Windows Server binds a number of technologies admins need to implement a software-defined data center and make the network as elastic as the rest of the virtualized infrastructure.
How SDN makes life easier for IT
SDN is a series of technologies that centrally configure, monitor and manage the various physical and virtual devices that comprise a LAN. Devices typically include routers, switches, gateways and firewalls within the network.
By establishing comprehensive software-based control over networked devices, administrators can avoid the traditional manual setup and configuration chores. These capabilities also promote speed through automation and better security and consistency through policy development and enforcement.
Perhaps the most noteworthy feature of SDN is flexibility. Administrators can use SDN to create and alter networks on demand without adjusting each connected device. With central management, SDN supports faster workload deployments and changes. SDN can also segregate networks, allowing administrators to block potential security vulnerabilities by preventing malicious content and actions from reaching the greater network.
Another perk of software-based network control is automation. Not only can IT pros use scripts to handle certain tasks more rapidly, but they can use policies to ensure those completed jobs meet essential requirements for workload performance, security and compliance.
Microsoft SDN features arrive with Windows Server 2012
Microsoft introduced SDN functionality in its server OS with Windows Server 2012, which provided virtual network functionality to let administrators build and control segmented networks without hardware configuration adjustments.
Windows Server 2016 built on this SDN foundation by adding the network controller for centralized management of the software-defined network and increased control over virtualized Hyper-V workloads with features such as network load balancing.
Microsoft SDN capabilities were further enhanced in Windows Server 2019 with firewall auditing, virtual network peering, egress metering and virtual network encryption to encode traffic between virtual machines.
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