Software-Defined Networking gains ground as US$8 billion value nears

Software-defined networking (SDN) continues to gain ground within the broader enterprise and cloud service provider markets for data centre networking.

According to a new forecast from IDC, the worldwide SDN market for the enterprise and cloud service provider segments will grow from $960 million in 2014 to over $8 billion by 2018, representing a robust CAGR of 89.4%.

This forecast for the SDN ecosystem includes in-use physical network infrastructure, controller and network-virtualisation software, SDN network and security services and related applications, and SDN-related professional services.

"SDN is taking center stage among innovative approaches to some of the networking challenges brought about by the rise of the 3rd Platform, particularly virtualisation and cloud computing," says Rohit Mehra, Vice President, Network Infrastructure, IDC.

"With SDN's growing traction in the datacenter for cloud deployments, enterprise IT is beginning to see the value in potentially extending SDN to the WAN and into the campus to meet the demand for more agile approaches to network architecture, provisioning, and operations."

Software-defined networking is an innovative architectural model that is capable of delivering automated provisioning, network virtualisation, and network programmability to data centre and enterprise networks.

SDN has emerged as a key driver for innovation and change in networking as several market and technology factors converge:

* Growth of cloud applications and services across enterprise and cloud providers

* Focus on converged infrastructures (compute/storage/network) and on the software-defined data centre

* Lessons learned regarding the benefits and best practices of server virtualisation have become apparent

* Increased demand for network flexibility to support mission-critical technologies based on 3rd Platform technologies, particularly cloud, mobility, Big Data, and Internet of Things (IoT) applications

IDC sees significant near-term use case opportunities for SDN in both cloud service provider rollouts and enterprise deployments.

Although enterprises are largely still testing the waters to see what benefits will accrue from SDN, IDC sees the enterprise market as a major driver of overall SDN growth over the next several years.

"The 2014 through 2016 period will be a significant launch point for SDN in the enterprise, with significant growth opportunities for both enterprise-focused SDN infrastructure and cloud service providers," adds Brad Casemore, Research Director, Data centre Networks.

Among the use cases for SDN are the following:

* Web scaling for hosting/public cloud providers

* Private/hybrid cloud deployments

* Network programmability/customisation

* Security applications


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