Companies split on SDN: Report

Another study of enterprise interest in software defined networking (SDN) has been released this week, but this one finds a distinct split in interest in the technology — at least among the U.S. respondents.

Juniper Networks said Thursday a survey this month of 400 IT decision makers in education, financial services, government and healthcare industries found slightly more than half (52.5 per cent) plan to adopt SDN, which centralizes network control through virtualization, while 47.5 per cent have no plans to implement it.

Of the surveyed companies that have plans to adopt SDN, 74 per cent say they plan to do so in within the next year, with 30 per cent indicating they plan to make the move in just one month.
Still, 77 per cent of those surveyed believe most business networks will include SDN in five years.

That suggests some confidence in SDN. However, respondents also cited some barriers to adoption, including the cost of installing SDN overlays (50 per cent), difficulty integrating with existing systems (35 per cent), security concerns (34 per cent) and lack of skills from existing employees (28 per cent).

Those looking forward to SDN said they hoped to get high availability and resiliency (30 per cent), improved network analytics and reporting (23 per cent), network automation and rapid provisioning (19 per cent). Twelve per cent said their organizations were looking for open source network options.

Industry analyst Zeus Kerravala of ZK Research said after looking over the study that the data points are interesting, “although somewhat Pollyanna-ish. With new technologies, such as SDNs, surveys often show an optimistic outlook as many of the challenges to the specific technology are not known.

“So, while the data shows that 27 per cent of organizations are completely ready for SDNs, this data point seems high to me.  From the research I have done, this should be closer to 15 per cent.  However, I do believe we shall see about one in four companies try and deploy some kind of SDN.”
One of the most significant findings, he added, is that organizations want hybrid solutions that allow an SDN to co-exist with an existing network.

What’s your IT department’s strategy for SDN? Let us know in the comments section below.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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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 [@]

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