Analyst: Data center and enterprise SDN technology headed into mainstream

Jan. 1, 2016
In its latest "IHS Infonetics Data Center and Enterprise SDN Hardware and Software" report, IHS reveals that data center and enterprise LAN software-defined networking (SDN) deployments began to ramp in the first half of 2015 (1H15).

In its latest “IHS Infonetics Data Center and Enterprise SDN Hardware and Software” report, IHS reveals that data center and enterprise LAN software-defined networking (SDN) deployments began to ramp in the first half of 2015 (1H15). IHS forecast the market for ‘in-use’ SDN Ethernet switches and controllers to top $1.4 billion in 2015, nearly doubling from the year prior.

The semiannual report provides worldwide and regional vendor market share, market size, and forecasts through 2019, plus analysis and a discussion of trends for SDN controllers, bare metal Ethernet switches, and branded Ethernet switches in use for SDN. According to the study, in the first half of 2015 (1H15), bare metal switches accounted for 45 percent of global in-use SDN-capable Ethernet switch revenue.

Cliff Grossner, Ph.D., research director for data center, cloud and SDN at IHS, adds, “New SDN use cases continue to emerge, and the first half of 2015 was no exception, with the establishment of the software-defined enterprise WAN (SD-WAN) market. The SD-WAN market is still small, but many startups and traditional WAN optimization appliance vendors and network vendors have jumped in.”

Looking at the leaders in individual SDN categories, the IHS Infonetics study also reveals that: white box switch vendors, as a group, are ranked #1 in bare metal switch revenue; Dell owns 100 percent of branded bare metal switch revenue; and that HP has the largest share of SDN-capable (in-use and not-in-use) branded Ethernet switch ports. (“Bare metal” refers to switches for which the software and hardware are sold separately, i.e., a customer can buy just the “bare metal.” With such switches, the end-user is free to load an operating system of their choice.)

The research tracks and forecasts SDN controllers and Ethernet switches in-use for SDN separately from not-in-use SDN-capable Ethernet switches. SDN in-use physical Ethernet switches are forecast by IHS to make up 15 percent of Ethernet switch market revenue in 2017, up from 4 percent today. Meanwhile, in-use virtual switch (vSwitch) ports are expected to make up 11 percent of SDN (in-use and not-in-use) ports shipped by the end of 2015.

“The data center and enterprise LAN SDN market will be solidified by the end of 2016, as lab trials give way to live production deployments,” concludes Grossner. “And in 2017, SDN will move from early adopters into the hands of mainstream buyers.”

Vendors tracked by the report include Alcatel-Lucent, Arista, Big Switch, Brocade, Centec, Cisco, Cumulus, Dell, Extreme, HP, Huawei, Juniper, Lenovo, Midokura, NEC, Pica8, Plexxi, PLUMgrid, VMware, White Box. The report is part of IHS Infonetics’ “Data Center Networks Intelligence Service.”

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