Do Companies Still Care About Software Defined Networking?

Software defined networking (SDN) has been an IT industry buzzword for some time. While analyst firms like IDC see a bright future for this technology segment, others such as Gartner are less optimistic. Recently, server networking company Kemp Technologies released survey results that suggests enterprises in Australia are still keen on SDN.

For those who are unfamiliar with SDN, it is essentially a networking architecture that splits out the control plane and data plane. Administrators can then control network operations from one single control console efficiently. As a result, application services can be provided locally, by the datacentre or the cloud.

While IDC has forecasted that the worldwide SDN market for enterprise and cloud service providers will grow to US$8 billion by 2018, Gartner has more conservative outlook. In research note, Gartner analysts Dave Russell and Donna Scott noted that most organisations don’t need SDN:

Because the software defined datacentre (SDDC) is in a very immature state, only visionary organizations with advanced I&O engineering and architecture skill sets, or companies with a very isolated use case will be implementing in the near term. Others that are interested in the outcomes of an SDDC will go to public cloud providers or on-premises managed private clouds to enable the benefits without having to implement it themselves.

Gartner goes further in deconstructing the “hype” around SDN, noting that there is a lot of “SDN fatigue” in the market from end-users because there hasn’t been enough real-world implementations of the technology. The analyst firm estimates that there are less than 2000 production SDN enterprise deployments.

But it would seem SDN is picking up steam with Australian organisations. In a survey on more than 230 IT professionals in Australia and Singapore by Kemp Technologies, one in three respondents said their companies are planning to deploy SDN in the next 12 months. This is possibly motivated by the need for businesses to reduce complexities in their IT infrastructure as 84 percent said their current environment is hindering their organisations’ ability to innovate.

It’s clear SDN is still piquing the interest of enterprises. Whether they will actually go through with deploying the technology is another matter. Is your organisation currently looking adopting SDN? Let us know in the comments.

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