After forming a software defined networks research group in 2014, Victoria’s School of Engineering and Computer Science has gone on to sign a three-year research agreement with Google to embark on SDN development, maintenance and teaching.
Traditionally, networking hardware is manufactured with specific software in mind, but standardising the way that software interacts with hardware allows developers the freedom to go beyond what is standard in the field.
“This means software developers can write programs for their own specific networking needs, and they are less restricted by the set-up of the hardware, which is more conducive to innovation,” says senior lecturer Dr Ian Welch.
“The flexibility of SDN technology means network modifications can be made more readily, and system threats dealt with rapidly and effectively. Even better, we can make networks more reliable by applying well-understood techniques from software engineering, such as unit testing and formal methods. Overall, this makes for a commercially nimble, cost-effective solution because it allows maximisation of the use of bandwidth and is potentially more secure and reliable than existing technologies.”
According to Google’s representative software engineer at Victoria, Josh Bailey, companies such as Google, Facebook or Amazon wouldn’t be in business without the vital role of network engineers.
“SDN is set to revolutionise things further by allowing better management of things such as cloud services, big data and consumer-interfacing technology, and it provides attractive options for scaling up business operations,” says Josh.
“This means SDN technology is set to be a growth industry and a serious option for any student considering network engineering.”
The three-year research agreement with Google provides a platform for Victoria to grow its profile in SDN teaching and research, with the goals of bringing more students into this emerging field and partnering with other academic and commercial organisations.