Do Companies Still Care About Software Defined Networking?

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.


  • Hey Spandas… this article doesn’t actually explain why enterprises haven’t taken up SDN. Is it a good technology? Sure, it is great… but no one will buy it, at least for a couple of years. The key reason for that is network engineers. They do not want it. The only thing SDN means to them is putting them out of a job. Sure, there is a small number who are interested and have a devops mind/way of thinking, but overall engineers see it as an unnecessary threat to their careers and won’t support it until they are absolutely forced to, which is really hard because as much as management might like the idea of SDN, they can’t build it with just programmers.

    • Hi Skeeve. Thank you for the comment!

      In the article, I did note the commentary from Gartner regarding why the analyst firm thinks SDN won’t be taking off for quite some time. I’d love to hear more from companies and IT pros directly on their thoughts on SDN and why they have or haven’t taken it up yet. This is a topic I will continue to follow. Stay tuned for more articles on this!



      • SDN won’t take off in orgs until they realign their operating models. Kill the silo’s and also move to a model of standards and automation. Process, policy and procedure also need to be defined.
        While an org is based on departmental lines it won’t work. There is plenty of work to be done in the SDN environment, however as with all IT roles, people who want to and are willing to move with the times will embrace the concepts and see the true value. IT is moving away from the manual types and into to dev/ops and automation.


  • SDN lacks relevance for standard enterprise campus networks. Unless you are a cloud provider, carrier or the very top end of town, It’s a solution waiting for a problem to solve.

    Ultimately networks are becoming simpler and higher order functions will move into software and applications. There will be some penetration of SDN in the form of overlay in the form of VMware NSX etc in the data centre for those that invest in private cloud as opposed to the growing trend to shift to public, though this will be limited to those with big budgets. Businesses are increasing looking to lower cost and as such are increasingly buying the lowest cost equipment that will provide the plumbing they need to connect their users to the DC’s. Campus networking is simplifying , SDN is a complexity that adds no real value in the enterprise unless your a vendor looking for a buzzword or talking point to try and sell more stuff to customers that don’t actually need it.

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