The University of Technology Sydney has revealed it is one of the first large organisations in Australia to deploy a software-defined communications network (SDN).
SDN technology moves the management and configuration of network routers out of the hardware and into software. As networks expand and cloud computing adds complexity to them, SDN provides greater control, a platform for new applications and promises to consume less employee time to deploy and manage.
While SDN adoption is still in its early stages in Australia it has attracted the interest of many organisations. Research firm IDC suggests the global SDN market will be worth $2 billion by 2016.
In the last year, UTS has relocated its Lindfield data centre to a co-location facility in Sydney's North Ryde and employed the technology.
UTS technical services manager, IT Infrastructure and Operations Peter Gale said the university relocation had provided opportunity for a new architecture.
"Because our data centre is pretty much 80 per cent virtualised anyway, we are looking for a way to get more agile in deployment and automate our processing in deployment," Mr Gale said. It uses SDN technology from Alcatel-Lucent.
"That will give us quite a big benefit for a start just in our quality of operations and better, more consistent security models. It lends itself to a multi-tenanted cloud environment."
It may include services from third parties such as Amazon Web Services, Rackspace or other public cloud computing providers, he said.
UTS now has two data centres that are the same virtual data centre. All of the SDN architecture - which it refers to as a virtualised network - was developed in-house.
While SDN provides consistency of security, Mr Gale said it opened a security hole the organisation might not have had before because it is harder to physically breach a non-SDN, hard-wired network.