Infonetics: Data center and enterprise SDN market soars 192% year-over-year; Largest SDN in China

Infonetics Research released excerpts from its 2014 Data Center and Enterprise SDN Hardware and Software report, which defines and sizes the market for software-defined networks (SDN). 

.    Vendors are seeding the market with SDN-capable Ethernet switches in the data center and enterprise LAN
.    The leaders in the SDN market will be solidified during the next 2 years, as 2014 lab trials give way to live production deployments
.    Bare metal switches are the top in-use for SDN-capable switch use case in the data center and are anticipated to account for 31% of total SDN-capable switch revenue by 2018
.    Infonetics forecasts the “real” market for SDN-that is, in-use for SDN Ethernet switches and controllers-to reach $9.5 billion in 2018
.    The adoption of SDN network virtualization overlays (NVOs) is expected to go mainstream by 2018

“There is no longer any question about software-defined networking (SDN) playing a role in data center and enterprise networks. Data center and enterprise SDN revenue, including SDN capable Ethernet switches and SDN controllers, was up 192% year-over-year (2013 over 2012),” reports Cliff Grossner, Ph.D., directing analyst for data center, cloud, and SDN at Infonetics Research. “The early SDN explorers-NEC in Japan and pure-play SDN startups in North America-were joined in 2013 by the majority of traditional switch vendors and server virtualization vendors offering a wide selection of SDN products.”

“Even more eye opening,” continues Grossner, “In-use for SDN Ethernet switch revenue, including branded Ethernet switches, virtual switches, and bare metal switches, grew more than 10-fold in 2013 from the prior year, driven by significant increases in white box bare metal switch  deployments by very large cloud service providers such as Google and Amazon.”

Infonetics’ annual data center and enterprise SDN report provides worldwide and regional market size, forecasts through 2018, analysis, and trends for SDN controllers and Ethernet switches in use for SDN.  Notably, the report tracks and forecasts SDN controllers and Ethernet switches in-use for SDN separately from SDN-capable Ethernet switches. The report also includes significant SDN vendor announcements. Vendors tracked: Alcatel-Lucent, Big Switch, Brocade, Cisco, Cumulus, Dell, Extreme, HP, Huawei, IBM, Juniper, Midokura, NEC, Pica8, Plexxi, PLUMgrid, Vello Systems, VMware, others.

To buy the report, contact Infonetics:


Huawei and 21Vianet Collaborate to Launch China’s Largest Commercial SDN Network

On Sept 9, 2014, Huawei announced a partnership with 21Vianet Group Inc. (21Vianet), the largest carrier-neutral Internet Data Center (IDC) services provider in China, to launch China’s largest commercial Software-Defined Networking-enabled (SDN) network. The network will provide flexibility to subscriber networks that manage and support cloud services. It will enable enterprises to adjust their business strategies to stay competitive in a dynamic market environment.

87% of medium and large N. American enterprises surveyed by Infonetics intend to have SDN live in the data center by 2016

“Software-defined networking (SDN) spells opportunity for existing and new vendors, and the time to act is now. The leaders in the SDN market serving the enterprise will be solidified during the next two years as lab trials give way to live production deployments in 2015 and significant growth by 2016. The timelines for businesses moving from lab trials to live production for the data center and LAN are almost identical,” notes Cliff Grossner, Ph.D., directing analyst for data center, cloud, and SDN at Infonetics Research.

“There’s still some work to do on the part of SDN vendors. Expectations for SDN are clear, but there are still serious concerns about the maturity of the technology and the business case. Vendors need to work with their lead enterprise customers to complete lab trials and provide public demonstrations of success.”


  • Infonetics’ enterprise respondents are expanding the number of data center sites and LAN sites they operate over the next 2 years and are investing significant capital on servers and LAN Ethernet switching equipment
  • A majority of survey respondents are currently conducting data center SDN lab trials or will do so this year; 45% are planning to have SDN in live production in the data center in 2015, growing to 87% in 2016
    • Respondents’ plans for LAN SDN are nearly identical to their data center plans
  • Among respondents, the top drivers for deploying SDN are improving management capabilities andimproving application performance, while potential network interruptions and interoperability with existing network equipment are the leading barriers
  • Meanwhile, enabling hybrid cloud is dead last on the list of drivers, a sign that SDN vendors have some work to do in educating enterprises that SDN can be an important enabler of hybrid cloud architectures
  • On average, 17% of respondents’ data center Ethernet switch ports are on bare metal switches, and only 21% of those are in-use for SDN
  • Nearly ¼ of businesses surveyed are ready to consider non-traditional network vendors for their SDN applications and orchestration software



  •   87% of medium/large N.A. enterprises say they intend to have SDN in data center by 2016 (see above summary)
  •   $1 trillion to be spent on telecom and datacom equipment and software over next 5 years
  •    SDN and NFV to bring about shift in data center security investments                                                                  

Summary of Michael Howard’s NFV migration talk at 2014 Hot Interconnects:


Visit to register for upcoming webinars, view recent webinars on-demand, or learn about sponsoring a webinar.
.    Making Your Network Run Hotter With SDN (View on-demand)
.    NFV: An Easier Initial Target Than SDN? (View on-demand)
.    SDN and NFV Roundup of Trials and Deployments (Oct. 23: Learn More)
.    SDN: vSwitch or ToR, Where is the Network Intelligence, and Why? (Oct. 30: Sponsor)