Although still in a fledgling state, software-defined networks are closer to moving into production in enterprises.

With a central controller able to configure switches across the network, it will bring a lot of power to network administrators. SDN also raises the obvious possibility of increased network security.

Maybe, a number of vendors told Ellen Messmer of NetworkWorld U.S. “In the software-defined data centre, you can put the security controls at the granular level and it’s going to happen with virtual appliances,” Rishi Bhargava, general manager and vice president for the software-defined datacentre at Intel Security Solutions. But he also says it’s yet to be defined what interoperability in security might mean for SDN, particularly in terms of the OpenStack platform for creating clouds.

Bhargava was interviewed during VMware’s VMworld conference, where his division announced an upcoming security controller for VMware’s NSX management console. The controller receives commands from NSX to allow virtual intrusion-prevention systems from Intel’s McAfee division to protect virtual machines.

Bhargava told Messmer this new approach eliminates awkward manual controls that have been used. The potential downside to this integration, though, is that if the NSX management console is unavailable for some reason, “policy couldn’t be changed,” he acknowledged.

The Intel controller, which may add support for McAfee’s Next-Generation Firewall, data-loss prevention products and MOVE AntiVirus suite for virtual environments, will be released in the fourth quarter.