As more multinational companies plan for their digital transformation, most are assessing their communication network capabilities. Meanwhile, the enterprise software-defined networking (SDN) market is maturing, and increasing adoption indicates that it's gaining momentum.
SDN early-adopters are completing proof-of-concept trials and shifting to production deployments, which will transition into mainstream market adoption between now and 2020, according to the latest worldwide market study by Technology Business Research (TBR).
"SDN will become a substantial contributor to the overall network infrastructure market," said Krista Macomber, data center analyst at TBR.
Production deployments have started within large-scale enterprise environments, and will spread as international standards bodies finalize their work and SDN vendors expand into new use cases.
According to the TBR assessment, previously a small number of large vendors dominated networking standards, but openness and collaboration around SDN innovation has included a variety of companies -- including start-ups that have developed new technologies.
With the support of industry alliances, such as the Open Networking Foundation (ONF), and participation from vendors of open-source technologies, SDN now includes security and mission-critical application availability.
Deployment considerations will increasingly include business benefits as enterprises validate the reliability and performance of SDN architectures. Besides, a primary advantage of SDN is the promise of lower-cost infrastructure, by combining savings from open source hardware.
TBR believes that customers recognize the potential of software-defined architectures in solving pressing traditional IT pain points, such as management complexity and workload inflexibility.
However, some barriers to adoption remain -- including internal IT organization resistance to change and industry immaturity. For vendors, proving the performance and reliability of solutions is a critical first step in their market development.
The rise of SDN architectures is altering the vendor landscape. As hardware becomes a commodity, software-centric vendors and vendors of industry-standard hardware may be able to take market share from the traditional enterprise networking industry incumbents.
As software-centric vendors enable customers to reduce expensive and complex hardware installations, they will stress the value of SDN optimization for overlay capabilities and also to improve the performance of IT workloads.