SDN Growth Strong So Far in 2016

Software Defined Networking (SDN) is no longer hype, it’s a billion dollar industry and growing. Analyst firm IHS Markit published its Data Center and Enterprise SDN Hardware and Software Biannual Market Tracker for the half year period ending June 30, 2016, and it shows growing demand for SDN.

SDN is a vast product and services landscape, and IHS’s data includes Ethernet switches, SDN controllers and SD-WAN components. According to IHS, in the first half of 2016, the total global SDN market generated $1.1 billion in revenues, for a 42 percent gain over the second half of 2015.

Looking at the individual segments that make up the total SDN landscape, the Software Defined WAN market brought in 33 million in global revenues in the first half of 2016. SD-WAN aims to help aggregate public WAN links, replacing more costly MPLS and private lines, to help enable enterprise connectivity. IDC released a forecast on the projected size of the SD-WAN market earlier this year, estimating vastly larger numbers by 2020. According to IDC, SD-WAN will grow to $6 billion in revenue by 2020.

IHS has also provided market sizing for the slice of the SDN market known as branded bare metal switching. A branded bare metal switch is defined as a bare metal switch that doesn’t come pre-loaded with a networking operating system and is sold by a major brand. With branded bare metal switches, organizations can choose to load, or define, their own choice of network operating system, often making use of the Open Compute Project’s (OCP) Open Network Install Environment (ONIE). IHS estimates $23 million in global revenues for branded bare metal switch market in the first half of 2016.

Dell is the biggest vendor in the branded bare metal switch market, according to IHS, with over half of revenue market share. Dell has been active in the space since 2015, and has contributed engineering effort to the OCP switch initiatives. In 2015, Dell helped to advance the Switch Abstraction Interface (SAI) as an abstraction layer for switches that enables a common API interface across network operating systems.

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at eWEEK and Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist

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