Jump in software defined networks as winners emerge

The data centre and enterprise software defined networking (SDN) sector suddenly jumped, up by 192% year-over-year, says research. The leaders in the SDN market will be solidified during the next two years, as 2014 lab trials give way to live production deployments, it says.

Infonetics Research released excerpts from its 2014 Data centre and Enterprise SDN Hardware and Software report, which defines and sizes the market for software-defined networks. It forecasts the "real" market for SDN - in-use SDN Ethernet switches and controllers - will reach $9.5bn in 2018.

"There is no longer any question about SDN playing a role in data centre and enterprise networks. Data centre and enterprise SDN revenue, including SDN capable Ethernet switches and SDN controllers, was up 192% year-over-year (2013 over 2012)," reports Cliff Grossner, directing analyst for data centre, cloud, and SDN at Infonetics Research. "The early SDN explorers - NEC in Japan and pure-play SDN start-ups in North America-were joined in 2013 by the majority of traditional switch vendors and server virtualisation vendors offering a wide selection of SDN products."

"Even more eye opening," continues Grossner, "In-use for SDN Ethernet switch revenue, including branded Ethernet switches, virtual switches, and bare metal switches, grew more than 10-fold in 2013 from the prior year, driven by significant increases in white box bare metal switch deployments by very large cloud service providers such as Google and Amazon."

Vendors are seeding the market with SDN-capable Ethernet switches in the data centre and enterprise LAN, he says. Bare metal switches are the top in-use for SDN-capable switch use case in the data centre and are anticipated to account for 31% of total SDN-capable switch revenue by 2018 with the adoption of SDN network virtualisation overlays (NVOs) is expected to go mainstream by 2018.

Vendors tracked in the research: Alcatel-Lucent, Big Switch, Brocade, Cisco, Cumulus, Dell, Extreme, HP, Huawei, IBM, Juniper, Midokura, NEC, Pica8, Plexxi, PLUMgrid, Vello Systems, Vmware and others.