Special Coverage Series

Network Computing

Special Coverage Series


SDN Planning Under Way, Survey Finds

An Enterprise Strategy Group poll of IT networking pros indicates that many are eying a shift to software-defined networking.

Software-defined networking is on more companies' radars, but remains a couple of years from becoming a mainstream technology strategy, according to a recent report.

Enterprise Strategy Group's "The Evolving State of the Network," which drew upon a survey of more than 300 IT professionals responsible for evaluating, purchasing and managing networking technologies, found that two-thirds of enterprises and midsize companies polled are committed to SDN as a long-term strategy.

Where they are in that commitment varies greatly, however. The biggest chunk -- 39% -- is in the planning and evaluation stage, while 27% have actually begun implementations. Another 24% say they're interested but have no SDN initiatives underway, while just 10% either have no interest or are not familiar enough with SDN to have a position.

That 90% of respondents are at least interested in SDN, which promises to make networks more flexible and agile by separating the function of traffic control from network hardware, is a strong indicator that the technology is about to arrive in a big way.

"It's reflective of the fact that organizations need to change the way they're doing networking today," Bob Laliberte, senior analyst with ESG, said in a phone interview. "Everyone's hoping SDN will help them make that change."

Respondents who are either deploying or evaluating SDN clearly see the technology as a way to address some of the biggest network challenges they face. The services they say they're most likely to deploy (or have already deployed) through SDN controllers are network security (65%), network virtualization (62%), WAN optimization (57%) and network provisioning (55%).

What's more, most organizations are pursuing SDN deployments on a wide scale, with 47% planning to deploy it on their datacenter network, 25% focusing on the campus network, and 15% opting for enterprise-wide deployments. Just 14% are limiting their SDN efforts to branch or remote office networks.

"Organizations are recognizing the fact that the current legacy network really isn't working for them," said Laliberte. "It's amazing to see how far we've come in 18 months."

[Read why organizations shouldn't overlook security in their SDN plans in "Beware SDN Security Risks, Experts Warn."]

ESG also asked survey participants which groups within IT were influencing their networking technology purchasing decisions, and the results indicated a subtle shift in the balance of power. While the IT architecture (46%) and network teams (23%) were the most common responses, virtualization teams (11%) were named by as many respondents as the application, server and storage teams combined.

"Virtualization teams are getting more of a seat at the table for infrastructure decisions," Laliberte said. "It's not a trend yet, but it's a data point worth watching."

The rising profile of virtualization technologies, and SDN in particular, will lead to a growing portion of organizations actively testing and undertaking proof-of-concept efforts with the technology during 2014, and the number of live deployments is expected to grow significantly over the next couple of years, Laliberte said.

With growing numbers of SDN products expected to hit the market in the near future, the takeaway for companies interested in SDN but still sitting on their hands is clear.

"It's probably time for you to consider setting up a sandbox for SDN," Laliberte said.



Related Reading


More Insights



Network Computing encourages readers to engage in spirited, healthy debate, including taking us to task. However, Network Computing moderates all comments posted to our site, and reserves the right to modify or remove any content that it determines to be derogatory, offensive, inflammatory, vulgar, irrelevant/off-topic, racist or obvious marketing/SPAM. Network Computing further reserves the right to disable the profile of any commenter participating in said activities.

 
Disqus Tips To upload an avatar photo, first complete your Disqus profile. | Please read our commenting policy.
 

Editor's Choice

Research: 2014 State of Server Technology

Research: 2014 State of Server Technology

Buying power and influence are rapidly shifting to service providers. Where does that leave enterprise IT? Not at the cutting edge, thatís for sure: Only 19% are increasing both the number and capability of servers, budgets are level or down for 60% and just 12% are using new micro technology.
Get full survey results now! »

Vendor Turf Wars

Vendor Turf Wars

The enterprise tech market used to be an orderly place, where vendors had clearly defined markets. No more. Driven both by increasing complexity and Wall Street demands for growth, big vendors are duking it out for primacy -- and refusing to work together for IT's benefit. Must we now pick a side, or is neutrality an option?
Get the Digital Issue »

WEBCAST: Software Defined Networking (SDN) First Steps

WEBCAST: Software Defined Networking (SDN) First Steps


Software defined networking encompasses several emerging technologies that bring programmable interfaces to data center networks and promise to make networks more observable and automated, as well as better suited to the specific needs of large virtualized data centers. Attend this webcast to learn the overall concept of SDN and its benefits, describe the different conceptual approaches to SDN, and examine the various technologies, both proprietary and open source, that are emerging.
Register Today »

Related Content

From Our Sponsor

How Data Center Infrastructure Management Software Improves Planning and Cuts Operational Cost

How Data Center Infrastructure Management Software Improves Planning and Cuts Operational Cost

Business executives are challenging their IT staffs to convert data centers from cost centers into producers of business value. Data centers can make a significant impact to the bottom line by enabling the business to respond more quickly to market demands. This paper demonstrates, through a series of examples, how data center infrastructure management software tools can simplify operational processes, cut costs, and speed up information delivery.

Impact of Hot and Cold Aisle Containment on Data Center Temperature and Efficiency

Impact of Hot and Cold Aisle Containment on Data Center Temperature and Efficiency

Both hot-air and cold-air containment can improve the predictability and efficiency of traditional data center cooling systems. While both approaches minimize the mixing of hot and cold air, there are practical differences in implementation and operation that have significant consequences on work environment conditions, PUE, and economizer mode hours. The choice of hot-aisle containment over cold-aisle containment can save 43% in annual cooling system energy cost, corresponding to a 15% reduction in annualized PUE. This paper examines both methodologies and highlights the reasons why hot-aisle containment emerges as the preferred best practice for new data centers.

Monitoring Physical Threats in the Data Center

Monitoring Physical Threats in the Data Center

Traditional methodologies for monitoring the data center environment are no longer sufficient. With technologies such as blade servers driving up cooling demands and regulations such as Sarbanes-Oxley driving up data security requirements, the physical environment in the data center must be watched more closely. While well understood protocols exist for monitoring physical devices such as UPS systems, computer room air conditioners, and fire suppression systems, there is a class of distributed monitoring points that is often ignored. This paper describes this class of threats, suggests approaches to deploying monitoring devices, and provides best practices in leveraging the collected data to reduce downtime.

Cooling Strategies for Ultra-High Density Racks and Blade Servers

Cooling Strategies for Ultra-High Density Racks and Blade Servers

Rack power of 10 kW per rack or more can result from the deployment of high density information technology equipment such as blade servers. This creates difficult cooling challenges in a data center environment where the industry average rack power consumption is under 2 kW. Five strategies for deploying ultra-high power racks are described, covering practical solutions for both new and existing data centers.

Power and Cooling Capacity Management for Data Centers

Power and Cooling Capacity Management for Data Centers

High density IT equipment stresses the power density capability of modern data centers. Installation and unmanaged proliferation of this equipment can lead to unexpected problems with power and cooling infrastructure including overheating, overloads, and loss of redundancy. The ability to measure and predict power and cooling capability at the rack enclosure level is required to ensure predictable performance and optimize use of the physical infrastructure resource. This paper describes the principles for achieving power and cooling capacity management.