As the SDN Market Continues Its Linear Growth, What’s Holding It Back?
The software-defined network (SDN) market has been somewhat of a late bloomer in the virtual infrastructure arena. Network Computing recently reported on the details of a new forecast from Technology Business Research (TBR) outlining SDN’s potential growth. Among the predictions was a relatively pedestrian growth of roughly $12.7 billion as a market by 2020.
While that figure may seem impressive at first glance, it actually represents an incremental rather than exponential growth trajectory. This growth appears to be driven by enterprise interest in SDN technology. With the ability to provide organizations with greater flexibility, automation and centralization of management, what’s stopping the SDN market from finally breaking through to the mainstream?
The SDN Market: Slow and Steady
Part of the problem can be directly attributed to the technology’s youthfulness. SDN is still in an exploratory phase when it comes to modern enterprise environments. The standards governing SDN technology are currently being defined while vendors continue to flesh out their SDN offerings.
Additionally, organizations are already entrenched in legacy network technology and may not view the cost-benefit question of transitioning to SDN in a favorable light. These businesses may also find it difficult to immediately uncover viable use cases for SDN that justify the complexity and risk of transitioning. Moving from disparate platforms for compute, storage and network to a virtual solution like SDN can be a shock to the system.
Not all is doom and gloom for the fledgling technology, however. The rising prominence of hyperconverged infrastructure could be an influential catalyst for the SDN market, according to TBR. Organizations migrating their storage and server configurations into a virtual setting may be hard-pressed to ignore the benefits of doing the same for their network.
Yet another potential motivator for SDN adoption as experts see it is the software-defined WAN (SD-WAN): TBR notes the troublesome nature of WAN management as it relates to enterprise IT and its potential to be the ultimate selling point for SDN.
As a final note, the TBR research also uncovered insight into the SDN deployment strategies of those adopting the technology. Many are opting to get involved with more than one SDN vendor, which could help increase market exposure and adoption in the long run.