Biggest challenge for SDN isn’t technology, says Gartner

Work on software-defined networking has been going on for almost two decades, but it’s only been in the past year that all of the pieces needed have been available to make a truly automated system.

But while a number of enterprises have downloaded versions of OpenFlow and other SDN components to play with there have been few software-defined networks put into production in organizations.

This week Gartner published a report for purchase studying some 30 deployments that showed increased agility, cost savings and/or improved security using SDN-based technologies. Four of those were detailed in the report including

–a U.S government agency using SDN to create a self-service development cloud;

–a consulting/services firm that needed to upgrade and expand its monitoring network in a cost-effective manner;

–a logistics company that wanted to reduce opex, enable multi-tenancy and improve agility

–and a regional bank that wanted to improve its intra-data-centre security.

In a blog Gartner’s Andrew Lerner gave away few secrets. But he did say the report estimates there are only between 500 and 1,000 mainstream deployments of SDN around the world.

Interestingly, roughly half of those studied use technology from vendors that are not in the top five in switching revenue, including NEC and VMware. (Other used solutions from Alcatel-Lucent, Cisco Systems Inc., Hewlett-Packard, Big Switch, Microsoft, Viptela, Plexxi and OpenDaylight.

Finally, the report concludes the biggest challenge SDN has to overcome has been organizational/cultural, not technology. SDN means that network control shifts to operations, which Lerner has been particularly difficult for network teams to accept.

As more vendors release case studies of enterprise implementations the case for when, where and how for SDN will be better made.

Would you recommend this article?


Thanks for taking the time to let us know what you think of this article!
We'd love to hear your opinion about this or any other story you read in our publication.

Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

Featured Download

Howard Solomon
Howard Solomon
Currently a freelance writer, I'm the former editor of and Computing Canada. An IT journalist since 1997, I've written for several of ITWC's sister publications including and Computer Dealer News. Before that I was a staff reporter at the Calgary Herald and the Brampton (Ont.) Daily Times. I can be reached at hsolomon [@]

Featured Articles

Cybersecurity in 2024: Priorities and challenges for Canadian organizations 

By Derek Manky As predictions for 2024 point to the continued expansion...

Survey shows generative AI is a top priority for Canadian corporate leaders.

Leaders are devoting significant budget to generative AI for 2024 Canadian corporate...

Related Tech News

Tech Jobs

Our experienced team of journalists and bloggers bring you engaging in-depth interviews, videos and content targeted to IT professionals and line-of-business executives.

Tech Companies Hiring Right Now