Canada and the United States will account for half of the estimated US$3.1 billion global market for software defined networking in the next five years, according to a recent study.

Market research firm Infonetics Research today said the strong forecast for SND will be powered by large enterprise and cloud service providers that will lead the way in wide scale SDN deployments in data centres.

SDN, promises more flexible, automated and programmable infrastructures through an approach that separates network intelligence by housing it in software-based controllers to separate it from the underlying hardware.

“The important question that everyone wants answered is, “What’s the real market for SDN?” Cliff Grossner, directing analyst for data centre and cloud at Infonetics, said in a statement. “It’s still early days, but our research over the last two years confirms that SDN controllers and Ethernet switches in use for SDN will play a role in enterprise and data centre networks.”

The adoption he is talking about is already playing out, according to technology publication Leading service providers such as AT&T, China Mobile and Google are among the early adopters of SDN. The technology is bound to experience extensive adoption in enterprise local area networks (LAN) in the very near future.

Infonetics has noted some “significant use case” for SDN in the enterprise LAN, according to Grossner The technology is being used to enable security and integration of wired and wireless networks as well as to support bring-your-own-device programs, he said.

The market research firm said SDN is following the “classic market adoption cycle” where large organizations are taking a wait and see approach while smaller vendors are looking to capture the market against more established players.

Vendors that came up wit5h SDN offerings this year encompass a wide range of companies that include: Cisco Systems, Dell, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Juniper Networks, Plexxi, Pica8, Plumgrid, VMware and Midokura.

Technology consortiums such as the OpenDaylight Project, the Open Networking Foundation and Open Compute Project are also working on open SDN technologies and standards.

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