Interop: What’s Driving SDN Today?

LAS VEGAS. IDC analysts today provided an overview of the current status of the networking market and Software Defined Networking (SDN) in particular. The IDC analysts gave their insights during the annual IDC Analyst meeting held at the Interop conference here.

Rohit Mehra, research VP at IDC, said that 10 and 40 Gigabit Ethernet (GbE) are set to hit 20 million ports in 2014. According to IDC, 10 and 40 GbE Ethernet datacenter ports will generate combined revenues of $7 billion for 2014 and will account for 90 percent of all datacenter Ethernet switch spending.

Mehra did not provide any specific guidance this year on how much datacenter spending would be directly related to SDN. Last year, at the Interop 2013 event, Mehra said that IDC’s forecast for SDN was that the in-use SDN marketplace will generate $3.7 billion in revenue by 2016.

Brad Casemore, research director at IDC, did provide some new insight into the current drivers and state of SDN deployments. Casemore noted that what has driven early SDN adoption was a need to transition to the cloud and to be able to more intelligently handle heavily virtualized applications, servers and datacenters.

Casemore added that early adoption of SDN has also been driven by network requirements for better multi-tenancy and isolation support, as well as the need for improved automation of network provisioning.

According to new data that hasn’t yet been publicly published by IDC, 29 percent of respondents to a recent IDC study said that the network’s need for more agility to support virtualization is a primary driver for SDN deployments. 23 percent of respondents cited the need to increase the ability of the organization to better deliver new applications and servers to the network. Only 4 percent of the study’s respondents said that the need to lower capital expenditures is a key driver for SDN deployment.


There are multiple ways in which SDN is being deployed today, with OpenFlow controller-based approaches leading, cited by 33 percent of respondents. 31 percent of respondents said that they were using overlay-based SDN approaches, which include VMware’s NSX and Juniper’s Contrail. 27 percent of the study’s respondents said that they were using an SDN controller with multiple protocols and APIs.

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

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

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