Two technologies are changing the way IT manages and uses data networks: Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) and Software-Defined Networks (SDN). Both are enabling enterprises to use data networks to become more agile, cost efficient and innovative. And while there’s no arguing these benefits, the two terms are often misunderstood – making adoption by IT organizations challenging. But there is no need for alarm, because a whole universe of industry experts are out there sharing their insights.

Replacing dedicated network appliances with software running on commercial servers, NFV is transforming how companies deliver network-based services. The vision that both technologies help enterprises to realize is a completely virtualized infrastructure – ranging from servers to storage, to tools with specific functions and how all of them are provisioned. SDN empowers administrators to manage services through abstraction. Accelerating agility and flexibility across the infrastructure, it permits network administrators to shape traffic from a single console without physically touching a single switch. Services can thus be delivered wherever necessary – with no tie to a specific server or IT device.

You can gain more insight into how NFV and SDN are transforming data networking by following some of the leading industry analysts on Twitter.

  • @andrekindness: A popular Forrester Research analyst, Andre Kindness focuses on the complexities of enterprise networking. In his most current research, he’s highlighted the difference between “white box” and “bare metal” network switches – and the critical nature of IT networks as companies journey to the cloud.
  • @Bswtelecom: Brian Washburn regularly covers business networks and IT services for Current Analysis. An avid blogger, he’s explored some of the hottest topics in the industry, such as the fully virtualized global carrier and SDN-powered cloud networking services.
  • @cliffgrossner: Exploring the latest movements in cloud, the data center and SDN, Clifford Grossner is a Research Director with IHS. With experience beyond the analyst community, he also spent more than a decade at Alcatel-Lucent. Cliff’s current specialties include SDN-capable physical and virtual switching, bare metal switching, SDN controllers/orchestration software, and SDN-capable applications.
  • @fast_lerner: Andrew Lerner is a lead analyst at Gartner, covering everything SDN networking. A former Senior Network Engineer, he’s one of the firm’s noted thought leaders – having authored research on the SDN taxonomy, the future of network transformation, and the Magic Quadrant for data center networking.
  • @leedoyle_dc: For nearly 30 years, Lee Doyle has touted benefits of the “Intelligent Network”. A Principal Analyst at Doyle Research, he remains a strong industry voice on SDN – having written articles for Network World, Tech Target, UBM, and GigaOm.
  • @NavChander: An analyst at IDC, Nav Chander is a well-respected source in the IT/telecom marketplace. He’s an expert on key networking technologies – ranging from Ethernet and MPLS to SDN/NFV and SD-WAN. Previously with IBM and Motorola, Nav acts as a regular speaker and judge at the Metro Ethernet Forum.
  • @Heavy_Reading: With nearly 20 years of experience in the industry, Roz Roseboro is a Senior Analyst with Heavy Reading. Her commentary encompasses the entire compute, network, and storage spectrum – with particular emphasis on virtualization, componentization, and convergence. Often quoted in the media, Roz has led extensive research on NFV in the data center.
  • @roopa_shree: A widely sought-after speaker and regular judge at the Metro Ethernet Forum (MEF), Roopa Honnachari directs the Business Communication Services and Cloud Computing Practice at Frost & Sullivan. Roopa brings detailed technical knowledge in networking, cloud computing, and next-generation network services.

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