The deployment of software-defined networking (SDN) is having a major impact on the architecture of data center and other networks, and is driving a new ecosystem, including switch silicon, embedded software and systems. SDN and network functions virtualization (NFV) have significant potential to reduce service provider capex and opex by replacing dedicated systems with virtual functions running on standard servers, standard switches and commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) platforms that integrate switching and server hardware. Service providers, system developers and switch manufacturers are all making significant investments in solutions for SDN. This report details and analyzes high-performance Ethernet switch devices, embedded SDN and operating system software and innovative SDN switch systems, identifying the key requirements and highlighting the advantages they hold for equipment manufacturers and service providers. The report also reviews vendor strategies and surveys component features, performance and flexibility in this important market.
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