At Microsoft, Software-Defined Networking Takes Cloudy Turn
Microsoft details its efforts to help mainstream software-defined networking, a pillar of the company's own hyperscale cloud capabilities.Microsoft is bullish on software-defined networking (SDN) if for no other reason than the technology's ability to help it provide Azure cloud services to millions of users. The Redmond, Wash-IT giant is presenting at the ACM SIGCOMM 2015 (Association for Computing Machinery's Special Interest Group on Data Communications) conference, currently taking place in London. There, the company is offering attendees a glimpse at how SDN is enabling cloud-based workloads at a scale that would otherwise grind to a halt under legacy network architectures. Microsoft is banking on SDN technologies not only to grow its own cloud computing capabilities, but also to meet the needs of enterprise customers and data center operators seeking more flexible, application-aware ways of managing their networks. The latest preview version of Windows Server 2016, released yesterday, offers new SDN capacities, including a scalable network controller and a new software load balancer. Back at Microsoft's own IT facilities, the company has fully embraced SDN as a pivotal component of the company's software-defined data center vision.
"Given the scale we had to build to, and the need to create software-defined data centers, for millions of customers, we had to change everything in networking, and so we did—from optical to server to NIC [network interface card] to data center networks to WAN [wide area network] to Edge/CDN [content delivery network] to last mile," wrote Albert Greenberg, a distinguished engineer in Microsoft's Networking Development unit, in a company blog post.