SDN Sector RoadMap v1.0


Software-defined networking (SDN) represents the next big wave of networking investment: $2.45 billion by 2018, according to GigaOM Research. As with previous big networking waves (e.g., ethernet connectivity, IP internetworking, voice over IP, video over IP, wireless LANs, and so on), full market acceptance and widespread deployment will take 5 to 10 years to develop. During this time, solutions will come and go, suppliers will rise and fall, and partnerships will flourish and fail.

In order to help separate the winners from the losers as the SDN market develops, the following six market disruption vectors have been identified: technology leadership, partner ecosystem, customer care, application buildout, solution completion, and market delivery. Currently, of the traditional networking suppliers, Cisco has established itself as the early leader with a comparatively comprehensive set of SDN products and programs. (see the below figure). But in this early stage of SDN market development, there is still much room for improvement by all suppliers, and pressure on current leader Cisco is coming from many directions — established suppliers (e.g., Juniper, Brocade), new entrants (e.g., NEC, VMware), specialized suppliers (e.g., Arista, Dell), and a fast-moving set of startups (e.g., Big Switch Networks, PlumGrid).

Early SDN market position: established suppliers


Source: GigaOM Research

Findings in this Sector RoadMap include:

  • Standards are still evolving, products are still developing, partnerships are still forming, and buyers continue to learn. All of these factors mean the SDN market remains wide open.
  • Participating vendors are also presented with many targets of opportunity in the SDN market because of the inclusion of multiple customer segments (enterprises and service providers) and network segments (data center, LAN, WAN, cloud services, mobility). With so much promise, both broad-based and specialized suppliers will be able to find success in the SDN market. They just need to execute properly across the identified SDN disruption vectors.
  • The disruption vectors in this report have been identified as key for SDN suppliers to build advantage within the developing SDN market. Each vector is weighted according to its ability to drive advantage in the SDN market.
  • Weighted vectors serve to indicate how SDN suppliers are currently tracking to sustained growth in market share and revenue.

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