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For the past 30 years, networks have been built the same way: out of special-purpose devices running distributed algorithms that provide functionality such as topology discovery, routing, traffic monitoring, and access control. Recent years, however, have seen growing interest in a new kind of network architecture in which a logically-centralized controller machine manages a distributed collection of programmable switches. These Software-Defined Networks (SDNs) make it possible for programmers to directly control the behavior of the network by configuring the packet-forwarding rules installed on switches.
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