Business Cloud News
Enterprises are split on whether or not to adopt SDN

Enterprises are split on whether or not to adopt SDN

Research published by networking specialist Juniper Networks suggests US companies are split on whether or not to adopt software defined networking technologies. Mike Marcellin, senior vice president of strategy and marketing for Juniper told Business Cloud News that while SDN promises better network automation, faster deployment and more flexibility, enterprises are still put off by a lack of suitable skills and the high initial cost of adoption.

Working with Wakefield Research, Juniper Networks petitioned 400 US-based IT decision makers for their views on software defined network in order to get a sense of their plans to adopt the technology.

The study found that just over half of those surveyed (52.5 per cent) plan to adopt SDN while the other half still have no plans to implement it in any form, revealing a noticeable split in enterprise readiness to embrace the exceedingly hyped technology.

Of those surveyed that have plans to adopt SDN in some form or another, 74 per cent said they plan to do so in within the next year, with 30 per cent indicating they plan to make the move in just one month.

The key drivers for those planning to adopt SDN include increased improved network performance and efficiency (26 per cent), followed by simplified network operations (19 per cent), cost savings on operations (13 per cent), and access to open source controllers (12 per cent).

It’s interesting to note that ‘scale’ was only reported by 10 per cent of respondents to be one of the most attractive features of SDN, at a time when most vendors consider this one of its key enablers.

However implementing SDN is not without its challenges, and potential barriers persist as companies drive adoption. High initial cost (50 per cent), integration with existing systems (35 per cent), security concerns (34 per cent) and lack of skills from existing employees (28 per cent) were indicated as top inhibitors to adoption.

And on a grading scale, with ‘A’ signifying most prepared to implement SDN, 38 per cent of respondents gave their organisation a ‘C’. Only 27 per cent of respondents gave their organisations an ‘A’ or ‘B’ grade.

“The results suggest that the promise of SDN is real and that the majority of companies are moving fast [to adopt it],” Marcellin said.

Marcellin explained to Business Cloud News that the transition won’t be unlike the advent of server virtualisation years ago, when businesses had to cope with learning how to manage virtual machines in lieu of physical ones, but organisational and workflow transformation is well underway across cloud builders of all sizes.

“One of the top challenges in adopting SDN cited was lack of skills possessed by existing employees and one of the top opportunities of SDN was to simplify network operations. I take this to mean that there’s a great opportunity to grow the skillset of network operations staff and in order to fully realize the benefits of SDN, IT organizations will need to look not just at technology but also at workflows.”

“SDN will make possible a level of agility not yet seen before, but we will have to change the way we work to take advantage of it,” he concluded.