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Software Defined Networking to be a billion dollar market by 2018

According to IDC the Software-Defined Networking (SDN) market will surpass the $1 billion mark by 2018 in the APEJ (Asia/Pacific excluding Japan) region alone.

IDC says the APEJ SDN market, consisting of spending from the enterprise and cloud service provider segments, will grow from $6.2 million in 2013 to over $1 billion by 2018.

Today businesses are more closely correlated with technology and SDN brings a number of benefits, and this will drive growth in the SDN market, says Surjyadeb Goswami, IDC research manager APEJ enterprise networking.

Goswami says, "End-users recognize the benefits of SDN, but are not jumping on the bandwagon aggressively, mainly as migration from a legacy platform to SDN is not straight forward."

He says, with IT buyers under the impression that the standards are still evolving, non-risk takers are deciding against investing in SDN. However, this is only a temporary obstacle as the benefits are too important to ignore.

IDC believes ICT evolutions, such as storage and server virtualisation will naturally lead to the need for the networks to be virtualised and more efficiently controlled.

This, in turn, will lead to SDN becoming a game changer as it will provide key building blocks for delivering next generation network infrastructure to enterprise and hybrid, private, and public cloud services, IDC says.

IDC recommends that vendors in the SDN ecosystem realise the differentiated SDN related needs from cloud providers and that of enterprises and build their approach accordingly.

"As Asia/Pacific enterprises start embracing SDN, leading networking and IT vendors in the ecosystem need to play a pivotal role in educating their channels and customers on their SDN migration roadmap; while the start-ups will continue to collaborate with other players in the ecosystem and bring in more innovative approach to address end-customer challenges in their SDN journey," says Goswami.

Goswami says the emergence of SDN comes from a number of factors that are driving the need for a network that is more flexible, agile, automated and simple.

Factors include: cloud is evolving as a comprehensive delivery vehicle for enterprise applications, third platform technologies are on the rise, and hybrid cloud solutions are becoming the norm.

"Software-defined networking is a means to a desired goal, rather than an end or solution in its own.

“It is essentially an architectural model that can help to better align network infrastructure with the needs of application workloads through the delivery of automated provisioning; programmatic network management; application-oriented, network wide visibility; and smooth integration with cloud orchestration platforms,” Goswami says.

In addition, programmability enables external control and automation that allow for highly scalable, flexible networks that readily adapt to changing business needs.

SDN has emerged as a focal point for innovation and change in networking as the industry combats with multiple challenges faced in their datacenter network, be it for the cloud service providers or the enterprises, IDC says.

 For example, SDN is working to address the challenges introduced with the rise of the third platform.

"While most of the attention has been given in recent years toward SDN in service providers' data center networks, as they strive to be the first movers, not to be forgotten is the potential for SDN in enterprise datacenter networks.

“Enterprises are interested in reaping the benefits of a more agile and simple network, but need more assistance from the professionals to get to the end point,” says Adeline Phua, IDC Asia/Pacific senior research manager enterprise networking.

IDC sees that the market is at a tipping point with significant opportunities for SDN in both cloud service provider rollouts and enterprise deployments in the APEJ region.

Though enterprises are mostly testing waters today, evaluating the best use cases and planning for their investments bit by bit, IDC sees the potential of the enterprise segment in boosting the SDN market over the next several years in this region.