Enterprise software-defined networking is here to stay, if increasing customer adoption rates are anything to go by.
That’s according to industry analyst firm Technology Business Research, whose latest report, Enterprise SDN Market Landscape, says early adopters of the technology are completing trials and shifting to production deployments which will transition into mainstream adoption by 2020.
“SDN will become a substantial contributor to the overall network infrastructure market,” explains Krista Macomber, a TBR data centre analyst.
“Production deployments started within a number of large-scale enterprise environments, and will spread across the industry as standards bodies gain momentum and vendors expand solutions and use cases,” she explains.
Macomber says previously a small number of large vendors drove networking standards, but openness and collaboration are hallmarks of SDN innovation.
With the support of industry alliance initiatives, such as the Open Networking Foundation, and increasing support from vendors of open-source technologies, use cases are broadening into areas such as security and mission-critical application availability, she says.
Christian Perry, TBR principal analyst and practice manager, says IT-centric conversations will increasingly include discussions of business benefits as enterprises validate the reliability and performance of SDN architecture.
“Customers recognise the potential of software-defined architectures in solving pressing pain points such as management complexity and workload inflexibility,” Perry explains.
“However, barriers to adoption including internal resistance to change and industry immaturity remain,” he says. “For vendors, proving the performance and reliability of solutions is a critical first step to adoption.”
Perry says the rise of SDN architectures is altering the vendor landscape.
“As hardware becomes commoditised, software-centric vendors such as VMware and vendors of industry-standard hardware, such as Dell, can gain share from industry incumbents such as Cisco,” he says.
“As software-centric vendors provide an avenue for customers to avoid pricey and complex hardware installations, industry incumbents message the value to customers of optimisation not only for overlay capabilities, but also for physical workloads and connections to optimise performance and scalability,” Perry explains.
“In turn, these efforts will help to protect vendors’ footholds in the market.”