What's Realer, SDN or the Loch Ness Monster?

Cisco global study reveals real IT pros' attitudes towards SDN and the Internet of Things.

By Sean Michael Kerner | Posted May 8, 2013
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LAS VEGAS - On a good day in this town, you're likely to see Elvis on many a street corner. Outside of Las Vegas, Elvis sightings aren't as likely, and neither are sightings of real Software Defined Networking (SDN) deployment, according to Cisco research.

Today at Interop, Cisco is unveiling a new global IT study that surveys the attitudes of 1,300 IT decision makers in 13 countries. The study provides some interesting insights.

Attitudes toward SDN: Skepticism, interest

While real-world deployment of SDN is the focus of many of the 300 exhibitors at Interop 2013, the IT pros Cisco surveyed demonstrated a healthy amount of skepticism.

"When we asked about SDN, thirty-four percent said they were more likely to see Elvis, Bigfoot, or the Loch Ness Monster than an actual SDN deployment," Inbar Lasser-Raab, senior director of marketing for enterprise networking at Cisco, told Enterprise Networking Planet.

Lasser-Raab cautioned, however, that the Cisco study surveyed IT people asked about networking in general. She suspects that in user groups more specific to the data center, the results might have been different.

"In the data center, there is much more of a focus on SDN because of the virtualized nature of the infrastructure," Lasser-Raab said. "There is a lot of buzz and opportunity with SDN."

And despite skepticism toward current deployments, Cisco's respondents indicated clear interest in deploying SDN in the very near future. Seventy-one percent said that they are planning to deploy SDN this year, in fact.

So why are IT pros looking at SDN?

Well, it's not about Elvis's blue suede shoes. It's about business value. Thirty-three percent of respondents said that they were eyeing SDN for its automated provisioning capabilities. Thirty-three percent also said that cost savings are a key driver. Eighteen percent identified analytics for traffic engineering and sixteen percent named custom forwarding and applications as factors attracting them to SDN deployment.

"We are seeing a lot of interest in SDN in networking," Lasser-Raab said.

Internet of Things

Cisco also asked about the Internet of Things, another key trend in the networking space. With the Internet of Things, everything lives on the network, enabling a truly connected world.

According to the study, forty-two percent of respondents are as familiar with Einstein's Theory of Relativity as they are with the concept of the Internet of Things. Additionally, forty-eight percent see new business opportunities coming from the Internet of Things.

Earlier this year, Cisco actually put a value on the Internet of Things: $14.4 Trillion in economic opportunity.

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

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