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Software Defined Infrastructure Gains Momentum in 2016

Software is the key to advancing digital business transformation progress. According to the latest worldwide market study by 451 Research, 67 percent of enterprises will increase spending on software defined infrastructure (SDI) during 2016, resulting in a 14.4 percent growth of the related IT budget investment.

SDI involves the virtualization of all hardware resources, combined with elastic scaling and IT management automation. As such, 451 Research analysts found that SDI is typically realized via the implementation of multiple technologies, products and associated professional services.

Though computer server virtualization within data centers has been the customary SDI starting point for most enterprises, additional software-defined approaches have emerged in recent years -- including software-defined networking (SDN) and software-defined storage (SDS).

Exploring SDI Market Development Drivers

The majority of respondents to the study (65 percent) cited improved agility and flexibility as the top benefit of SDI. In the fourth-quarter 2015 survey, considerably more respondents projected spending increases for infrastructure software technologies associated with SDI than those projecting decreases.

About 37.4 percent of enterprises are increasing spending on software-defined networking (SDN) and about 26.9 percent of of enterprises are increasing spending on software-defined storage (SDS).

In contrast, less than 3 percent of respondents are planning to curb budget allocations for these two technologies. Moreover, VMware (66.3 percent), followed by Cisco (39.2 percent) and Microsoft (28.1 percent) standout as lead vendors in SDI.

"As every business becomes a digital business, decision-makers are looking to improve both the efficiency and effectiveness of their overall IT environment; this is encouraging decision-makers to explore new IT delivery models." said Simon Robinson, vice president of research at 451 Research.

However, just 21 percent of organizations have implemented SDI in their environments today, and there are hurdles to broader adoption. For senior management, low maturity is a top barrier to SDI adoption while for non-senior management, lack of internal skills tops the list.

Why Market Education is a Key to Success

451 Research offers the following advice to those seeking to achieve successful implementation of SDI. The key is to start by conducting a comprehensive audit of internal technical staff knowledge and skills -- then, plan to fill any gaps.

"Meanwhile, vendors should aim to play a more proactive role in communicating requirements and presenting customer case studies to help CIOs and IT managers overcome known barriers," said Nikolay Yamakawa, senior analyst at 451 Research.

The inaugural "Voice of the Enterprise: Software-Defined Infrastructure" study focuses on end-user application trends in the technologies and products associated with software-defined infrastructure strategies.

Based on research conducted with over 900 IT professionals worldwide, the quarterly study combines 451 Research analysis with responses from a panel of more than 28,000 senior IT buyers and enterprise technology executives.

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