PC Today: "Software-Defined" Demystified

“Software-defined” is a popular term that is being attached to multiple business technologies from networking to the data center as a whole. But without any context, it’s difficult to determine how software-defined solutions are different from their more traditional counterparts. In essence, software-defined solutions use software to drive the capabilities and functionality of specific devices more so than the hardware itself, thereby providing greater administrative control.

“The software-defined trend is really about generic hardware performing specialized functions based on software,” says Barry Cousins, senior research analyst at Info-Tech Research Group (www.infotech.com). “We can think of server virtualization as software-defined server farms and storage virtualization as software-defined hard drives. I think of my [smartphone] as a software-defined alarm clock, software-defined guitar tuner, and software-defined GPS. [It] is a multi-use
device that’s very cool, but it’s a screen with one physical button. Software defines the device’s functionality.”

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