The SDN enterprise survey was designed to enable the company’s analysts to uncover trends and assess the needs of corporate private-network businesses deploying SDN in their data center networks and campus LANs. Infonetics interviewed 101 purchase-decision makers at medium and large North American organizations that are implementing SDN now or planning to evaluate SDN by the end of 2015. The survey results are available in Infonetics’ 42-page report titled “2014 SDN Strategies: North American Enterprise Survey.”
"Software-defined networking spells opportunity for existing and new vendors, and the time to act is now," said Cliff Grossner, Ph.D., directing analyst for data center, cloud, and SDN at Infonetics Research. "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."
Grossner says that SDN vendors still have some work to do. "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," he said.
Respondents to Infonetics' enterprise survey are expanding the number of data center sites and LAN sites they operate over the next two years and are investing significant capital on servers and LAN Ethernet switching equipment. Respondents' plans for LAN uses of SDN are nearly identical to their data center plans.
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.
Among respondents, the top drivers for deploying SDN are improving management capabilities and improving application performance, while potential network interruptions and interoperability with existing network equipment are the leading barriers.
Meanwhile, enabling the hybrid cloud – a cloud computing environment in which an organization provides and manages some resources in-house and has others provided externally – 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 (hardware purchased without proprietary software), and only 21% of those are in use for SDN.
Interestingly, nearly one-quarter of businesses surveyed is ready to consider non-traditional network vendors for their SDN applications and orchestration software.Infonetics says the survey provides new data on how the enterprise SDN market is evolving, including insights on the intent of corporate private network buyers to help vendors determine how to invest in product development and position their products in the marketplace. The study delves into deployment drivers and barriers, rollout plans, applications, use cases, vendors installed and under evaluation, and top-rated vendors.