In their recent report ‘SDN: Do Believe the Hype’ Aberdeen looks at the current adoption of Software Defined Networking (SDN) by businesses, and the ways SDN will potentially change the future of networking.
Fear of a Software Defined Planet
In the world of emerging technologies it is a given that the next big thing will be heavily hyped, and its meaning will be twisted to meet the needs of ambitious marketers. More often than not, the next big thing fails to live up to the hype, either becoming something useful but not that big or, in the worst case, failing utterly and passing into obscurity.
One of the biggest current examples of major hype in technology is the rise of Software Defined Networking (SDN). Talk to almost any business involved in networking, cloud data centre, etc. and they will either be talking directly about their SDN capabilities or using the term ‘software defined’ to modify whatever they already do (as in “Software Defined Data Centres” or “Software Defined Storage”).
The complexity of SDN, however, makes it hard for end-users to figure out what is legitimate and what is just riding on the SDN wave. This can lead to cynicism about whether SDN is actually a major new technology, or just something that will fail to catch on. At trade shows and other events on networking, it is common to hear comments like “No one is actually doing SDN” or “SDN is still a long way away from making any kind of real impact”.
Aberdeen’s research used three key performance criteria to distinguish the Best-in-Class (top 20% of aggregate performers) from the Industry Average (middle 50%) and the Laggard (bottom 30%) organisations:
- Year over Year reduction in end-user WLAN calls
- Average amount of unplanned WLAN downtime per year
- Year over Year improvement in end-to-end WLAN performance
Fight the Complexity
In the Aberdeen survey on smarter networking, respondents were asked if they were using SDN and, if so, the state of their SDN deployment. While SDN isn’t ubiquitous in any way, some organisations have started to figure out what SDN is and how it can provide value to their business.
- 13% of all respondents have implemented SDN
- 18% plan to plan implement SDN in the next 12 months
While these numbers aren’t large right now, more than 30% of organisations could have implemented some form of SDN within a year.
While deployment levels are still low, the Best-in-Class outpaces industry average by 33% in SDN deployment and have 70% edge on Laggards.
When Aberdeen asked respondents about the make-up of their early SDN developments, they found that:
- 54% were research-only implementations
- 28% were test implementations
- 11% were pilot programs, or early adoption implementations
- 7% were full SDN implementations
Bring the SDN Noise
Currently, many of the examples and use-cases centre around the types of things networking experts would do with the technology. But these people, even those who invented SDN, have blinders on, to a degree. They may not think of all the ways SDN could become impactful because they look at SDN from their particular point of view.
Aberdeen Group has been an international research partner of Nebula since 2010. With thousands of research documents, growing daily, Aberdeen’s research library helps enterprises and service providers discover the priorities and strategies of best-in-class enterprises.
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