SDN Adoption Plans Not Clear Cut

New research from Juniper Networks shows a near-even split in adoption plans for SDN, but is cost a driver or a challenge?

By Sean Michael Kerner | Posted Aug 1, 2014
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Do enterprises plan to move to Software Defined Networking (SDN) or not? It's a question that multiple surveys have attempted to answer in recent years. The latest attempt is a study released on July 31 from Juniper Networks.

Juniper's study found a near-50/50 split on the question of SDN adoption in the near term. According to the study, 52.5 percent plan to adopt SDN, while 47.5 percent have no SDN adoption plans. Among those that are adopting SDN, the timeline to deployment is rapid, with 70 percent indicating they plan an SDN deployment within the next year.

In contrast to Juniper's study,a QuinStreet Enterprise study published in December 2013 found that only 39 percent of organizations had no plans to deploy SDN.

Juniper's study found a number of key challenges for SDN. The top challenge, cited by 50 percent of respondents, was cost. Integration difficulties came in second at 36 percent, with security concerns coming in third at 34 percent.

Ironically, though cost was identified as a top challenge, when Juniper asked about benefits, 13 percent of respondents named cost savings. IDC has also researched the drivers for SDN growth and found that only 4 percent said that lower capital expenditures are a driver for SDN deployment.

The other key benefits identified by Juniper's respondents are improved network performance and efficiency (26 percent) and simplified network operations (19 percent).

Perhaps even more telling about the true adoption potential for SDN are the longer-term horizon plans for most organizations. Within five years, 77 percent of the study's respondents expect that SDN will be part of most business networks.

"The networking industry is going through a fundamental technology change driven by the need to turn up customer-facing apps more quickly and to simplify network operations," Mike Marcellin, senior vice president of strategy and marketing for Juniper Networks, said in a statement. "This evolution to SDN will not be overnight, but we're excited to see it happen and to partner with companies to help them realize their full SDN potential."

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at Enterprise Networking Planet and InternetNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.

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