In order to transform your datacenter, you need to deliver your storage, compute, and networking resources as a shared, elastic resource pool. This datacenter-level abstraction is a critical part of Microsoft’s Cloud OS vision.

Based on our experiences running cloud-services like Microsoft Azure, we believe that the network should adapt to application requirements rather than the other way round, which is a limiting factor with traditional networking approaches. Indeed, all infrastructure should be programmable and automated to optimize for application needs, be they around provisioning or operations.

SDN is all about using software to make your network a pooled, automated resource that can seamlessly extend across cloud boundaries. This allows optimal utilization of your existing physical network infrastructure, agility and flexibility resulting from centralized control, and business-critical workload optimization from deployment of innovative network services.

To begin, Windows Server delivers Hyper-V Network Virtualization to help you abstract your applications and workloads from the physical network. Virtual networks provide multi-tenant isolation while running on a shared physical network. Windows Server also provides a consistent platform through a built-in logical switch to define and enforce policy within and across datacenters.

Windows Server and System Center provide standards-based mechanisms to automate deployment and operations of both your physical and virtual networks.

In effect, with Windows Server and System Center, you can define and control network policies centrally and link them to your application requirements. As a result, the network configuration adjusts itself automatically when your application is moved. Windows Server and System Center deliver a built-in software gateway that helps bridge physical and virtual networks, thereby enabling frictionless mobility for your applications within and across datacenters. You can also extend your datacenter seamlessly into Windows Azure using the Microsoft Azure Virtual Network.

Windows Server and System Center are open and extensible to allow deep integration with your existing network infrastructure. Microsoft has a rich partner ecosystem with solutions across multiple areas, including switch extensions, network virtualization gateways, and chipset extensions.