Intune’s latest breakthrough – software defined networks across hundreds of miles

17 Jan 2013

Dublin technology company Intune Networks this morning claimed it has designed the world’s first distributed switch which is capable of extending Software Defined Networks (SDNs) across hundreds of miles.

The system, which uses a unique optical packet switching fabric, will allow carriers and large IT users to extend SDN beyond the data centre and to unify distributed computing resources over long distances.

The SDN capability is being added to Intune’s unique iVX8000 system, which has the characteristics of a local switch distributed across a large area, replacing multiple switches and transport devices with a single network element.

Intune will be adding an open interface to the existing iVX8000 platform that allows external standards-based controllers to populate the forwarding fabric of the system.

“In order to distribute the switching function we have already separated the control, management and data planes across ports that are hundreds of miles apart, so allowing them to be controlled by SDN is a logical next step,” John Dunne, Intune’s chief technology officer said.

“Using a distributed switching system means the deployment of SDN across the wide area becomes as simple as deploying it across a single LAN switch,” Dunne added.

Intune was established in 1999 by Tom Farrell and John Dunne, both graduates of UCD. Intune Networks employs 120 people, has design centres in Dublin and Belfast, and offices in the US and UK. The company has ambitious expansion plans and has received more than €49m in funding from investors.

What are Software Defined Networks?

SDN is an open standards-based framework that provides a common language for both network and IT resources, allowing the unification of services across both network and IT domains. The technology is already gaining traction within large data centres.

“SDN has the potential to transform carriers’ business models, turning their networks into huge unified computing resources,” Richard Brandon, Intune’s chief marketing officer, explained.

“Current network architectures add massive amounts of complexity to SDN once it leaves the confines of a local data centre. Intune has created a way of solving that problem and expanding SDN across the entire network,” Brandon added.

Fibre optics image via Shutterstock

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years