International Data Corp. (IDC) is the latest market research firm to predict the size of the software-defined networking (SDN) market. According to the firm's new forecast, the worldwide SDN market for the enterprise and cloud service provider segments will grow from $960 million in 2014 to over $8 billion by 2018, a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 89.4%. IDC defines the SDN space as including in-use physical network infrastructure, controller and network-virtualization software, SDN network and security services and related applications, and SDN-related professional services.
Several factors will drive SDN adoption and growth, according to IDC, including: growth of cloud applications and services across enterprise and cloud providers; focus on converged infrastructures (compute/storage/network) and on the software-defined data center; lessons learned regarding the benefits and best practices of server virtualization, which have become apparent; and increased demand for network flexibility to support mission-critical technologies based on what IDC calls "3rd Platform technologies" -- particularly cloud, mobility, Big Data, and Internet of Things (IoT) applications.
"SDN is taking center stage among innovative approaches to some of the networking challenges brought about by the rise of the 3rd Platform, particularly virtualization and cloud computing," comments Rohit Mehra, vice president, Network Infrastructure at IDC. "With SDN's growing traction in the data center for cloud deployments, enterprise IT is beginning to see the value in potentially extending SDN to the WAN and into the campus to meet the demand for more agile approaches to network architecture, provisioning, and operations."
IDC sees significant near-term use case opportunities for SDN in both cloud service provider rollouts and enterprise deployments. IDC pegs the following as SDN use cases: Web scaling for hosting/public cloud providers; private/hybrid cloud deployments; network programmability/customization; and security applications. "The 2014 through 2016 period will be a significant launch point for SDN in the enterprise, with significant growth opportunities for both enterprise-focused SDN infrastructure and cloud service providers," concludes Brad Casemore, research director, data center networks.
The IDC study, "SDN Momentum Builds in Datacenter and Enterprise Networks" (IDC #250288), examines the SDN market and its associated ecosystem and analyzes opportunities and challenges for data center and enterprise network managers. The IDC report follows SDN market reports from Infonetics ("Data center and enterprise SDN market to exceed $3 billion by 2017 says Infonetics") and Transparency Market Research ("Software-defined networking market worth $3.52 billion by 2018 says Transparency Market Research").