Market Insight

RESEARCH NOTE - 74 Percent of Businesses Surveyed Say SDN-compatible Data Center Security Solutions Are Driving Spending

June 14, 2016

Jeff Wilson Jeff Wilson Chief Analyst, Cybersecurity Technology

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IHS Technology analysis and commentary on the 2016 Data Center Security Strategies and Vendor Leadership: North American Enterprise Survey follows. 


From massive hosting providers to cloud-centric companies like Google and Amazon to large and medium enterprises, IT organizations around the world are consolidating and rebuilding data centers, moving infrastructure into the cloud and looking at flexible and programmable hybrid cloud architectures in an effort to get the scalability and agility they need to operate their businesses and manage costs. There are many solutions available, but little consensus on which is best and who should provide it.

The battle for data center security domination continues to rage in 2016, particularly at the high end of the appliance market. Many buyers are evaluating vendors old and new based on the following:

  • The ability to supply the interfaces, connections and throughput performance required today. Buyers will jump ship in 2016 if they believe security infrastructure will hamstring their high-performance data centers. 25G ports, in particular, will be a key offering for the data center in 2016 and beyond.
  • Performance increases that don’t compromise security efficacy and management and policy tools. Accessing real-time threat data tops the list of new investment drivers of businesses participating in the IHS data center security survey.
  • Solutions that are cost competitive today and offer an attractive upgrade path, including the ability to increase performance via software and/or hardware upgrades and add new protection mechanisms.
  • A compelling roadmap for virtualization and software-defined networking (SDN), with concrete plans for products in the very near term and a proof of concept with a variety of hypervisor and SDN controller platforms. A roadmap for container security solutions is becoming more important as well.

The most significant transformation affecting enterprise data centers today is the adoption of server virtualization technology and data center orchestration software—the building blocks of the virtualized data center and important ingredients in the eventual rollout of SDN in the data center. Seventy-four percent of survey respondents say the need for SDN-compatible data center security solutions drives their new purchases.

More Data Center Security Survey Highlights

  • When it comes to brand strength for key data center security buying criteria, Cisco, Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE), McAfee, Microsoft and VMware top survey respondents’ list
  • Although large vendors tend to do better overall in the data center security space due to brand strength, there is still opportunity for small vendors to compete, especially in emerging areas like virtual appliances and container security solutions
  • Leading the list of factors driving purchases of virtual appliances for the data center are maintaining secure configurations and preventing new threats specific to virtualized environments

Data Center Security Survey Synopsis

For its 25-page annual Data Center Security Strategies and Vendor Leadership: North American Enterprise Survey, IHS conducted in-depth interviews with 151 medium and large businesses in North America that operate their own data centers. The study covers data center security purchase drivers, deployments, interface speed and throughput requirements, connections, spending plans and suppliers. It also features enterprises’ ratings of 11 vendors (Arbor, Check Point, Cisco, F5, Fortinet, HPE, Intel Security [McAfee], Juniper, Palo Alto Networks, Trend Micro, VMware) on 10 criteria.

For information about purchasing this report, contact the sales department at IHS in the Americas at (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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