The software-defined networking (SDN) market is growing, with more businesses using or planning to use SDN in the future, according to Research & Markets as well as a Quinstreet Enterprise survey.
SDN and other network virtualization technologies (e.g. NFV) have driven the conversation in the industry for the past several years. However, for all the talk about SDN, the hundreds of analyst reports and thousands of news stories written about it, the tech world is still in the early stages of SDN and network-functions virtualization (NFV).
Analysts with Research and Markets expect the market to grow quickly over the next few years—to $11.5 billion between now and 2020. However, enterprises and carriers will continue running pilot programs and early deployments this year and next, with the technology going mainstream between 2019 and 2020.
Quinstreet Enterprise, two years after conducting its first survey on the market, recently released another survey, “SDN Growth Takes IT Infrastructure by Storm.” What Quinstreet Enterprise—the publisher of eWEEK—found was a market that is moving beyond the hype, with real and expected deployments growing and a broadening array of vendor options.
VLANs have been around for over 30 years with their presence in 43 percent of infrastructures. It’s not surprising that fewer respondents are looking to them down the road. Like SDN, VLANs are configured through software rather than hardware. With the advent of VLANs, computers on different cables could be networked as if they were on the same cable, and a computer physically moved to another location could stay on the same VLAN without requiring hardware reconfiguration. A VLAN offers nowhere near the flexibility of an SDN architecture, however. In an SDN architecture, the ability to configure, manage, secure and optimize network resources via software affords many benefits to enterprises. Chief among them, according to survey respondents, are cost savings, improved network performance, increased productivity and improved security. Figure 2 provides a breakdown of benefits. As beneficial as SDN is, it is not without its challenges. And in some cases they are one and the same as benefits. Cost savings and security are cited as top benefits, but they are also perceived as being among the top challenges.