Survey shows 1 in 5 enterprises use software-defined networks


Although people have been talking about software-defined networking (SDN) for about three years now, use cases don’t come to light every day. But a new survey suggests that SDN isn’t just for lab experiments; out of 500 enterprise IT decision-makers, roughly one in five are using SDN now.

Commissioned by Brocade — one of many SDN market contenders — (s brcd) researchers from Vanson Bourne checked in with a total of 1,750 IT people in France, Germany, North America and the United Kingdom earlier this summer. The SDN findings were among the most interesting.

The tricky part is what exactly respondents had in mind when they said they are using SDN technology now. There has been no shortage of SDN washing, as Guru Parulkar mentioned at the Open Networking Summit in April, leaving some technical people unsure of what SDN can do. That could be changing, though, as developers have kept their heads down, standardizing controller code and other SDN components in the vendor-led OpenDaylight Project.

But regardless of definition, lots more companies seem to see opportunities on the horizon with SDN: around 55 percent are evaluating SDN now or plan to do so within the next couple of years, according to the survey. Surely that figure accounts for the high level of interest in SDN among mobile carriers, which my colleague Stacey Higginbotham wrote about last week.

Respondents said they could derive all sorts of benefits with SDN, from lower capital expenditures to higher productivity.

SDN Brocade survey

Whether all their hopes and dreams will be actually realized by SDN is something else entirely, of course.

But as starry-eyed IT people keep thinking big about what might be possible with SDN, there’s plenty room for peddling proprietary products — applications on top of the OpenDaylight controller are a likely category — and venture capitalists haven’t yet grown tired of making SDN investments. And that means the drumbeat of product announcements we see now should continue for another couple of years, gearing up for a projected global SDN market value of $2.45 billion by 2018, according to a February 2018 GigaOM Research report (subscription required).

Feature image courtesy of Flickr user dinatompel.



Is there a link to the actual survey results somewhere?

Marten @ Plexxi

Perhaps its me, but the wide range of potential benefits, all with fairly similar amount of responses really suggests SDN to be perceived as a wonder drug to all sorts of ailments. We as an industry have done a masterful job selling SDN as such.

Marten @ Plexxi


Marten, we have a great report series on GigaOM Pro entitled “Getting your organization ready for SDN.” Let me know if you are interested and I’ll send over some more information.



Well, it is isn’t it? The ability to separate the data plane from the control plane brings us a host full of wonderful, time and cost saving features.

Imagine rolling out QOS across a 500 node network with a couple of key strokes without having to physically reprogram each router. Right?

Am I missing something from your comments.



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