Market Insight

REPORT HIGHLIGHTS - 77 Percent of Enterprises Surveyed Plan to Have SDN Live in the Data Center by 2018

March 02, 2016

Clifford Grossner Clifford Grossner Executive Director & Technology Fellow
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IHS Inc. (NYSE: IHS) conducted in-depth interviews with 150 medium and large businesses in North America that are implementing or evaluating software-defined networking (SDN) in the data center and found that over three-quarters of respondents are planning to have SDN in live production in 2018.

“The next two years will be the inflection point for going live with software-defined networking in the data center as the number of new lab and production trials drops dramatically by 2017. Currently, only 7 percent of enterprises we surveyed are in live production, but that number will grow considerably to 77 percent by 2018,” said Cliff Grossner, Ph.D., research director for data center, cloud and SDN at IHS.

“Non-traditional network vendors have a large opportunity to take enterprise data center SDN market share with applications and network virtualization overlays. Open source distribution vendors have increased their opportunity to provide data center orchestration software compared with last year’s survey, and their largest opportunity is still with SDN controllers,” Grossner said.


  • Survey respondents expect capex and opex expenditure increases during the first two years of software-defined networking (SDN) deployment
  • Enterprises surveyed want SDN in the data center to deliver better security, application performance and agility through improved management capabilities, rapid application deployment and the ability to quickly add network capacity
  • Top concerns are avoiding network service interruptions, SDN complexity and IT teams not being ready for SDN
  • 17 percent of respondents intend to evaluate data center orchestration software from open source distribution vendors, up from 8 percent in last year’s study


The annual 33-page Data Center SDN Strategies: North American Enterprise Survey provides new data on how the enterprise data center software-defined networking (SDN) market is evolving, including insights on the intent of enterprise buyers to help vendors determine how to invest in product development and position their products in the marketplace. It delves into deployment drivers and barriers, rollout plans, applications, use cases, vendors installed and under evaluation, and top‑rated vendors.

For more information about the report, contact the sales department at IHS in the Americas at +1 844 301 7334 or [email protected]; in Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) at +44 1344 328 300 or [email protected]; or Asia Pacific (APAC) at +604 291 3600 or [email protected].


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