Numergy also wants to offer seven different levels of security. "For that, we need SDN," Barnabe said.
Hanna said the fact that VSP is based on technology from Alcatel's Service Router Operating System, which UPMC already uses in about 100 routers. Still, the network executives know they are delving into largely uncharted territory.
"This is the biggest change in networking in years," said Hanna, who has been working in the field since the mid-1980s.
SDN won't fulfill all the promises that are being made for it today, but failures and shortcomings are a part of progress, SFR's Barnabe said in an interview after the panel discussion. He compared the various flavors of SDN to the different cellular technologies that are now converging in LTE.
"We need to test a lot of things," Barnabe said. "We need to push innovation."
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