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SDN Shakes Up the Status Quo in Datacenter Networking, IDC Says

Software-defined networking (SDN) is gaining momentum within the broader enterprise and datacenter networking industry. According to new research from International Data Corporation (IDC), SDN is a rapidly emerging set of scalable, flexible technologies that have networking vendors, cloud service providers, enterprise IT, and industry pundits all sitting up and taking notice. The worldwide SDN market for the enterprise and cloud service provider segments is forecast to grow from $360 million in 2013 to a robust $3.7 billion by 2016. This forecast for the SDN ecosystem includes the associated network infrastructure, SDN applications and control plane solutions, and SDN-related professional services.

"SDN's ability to decouple network logic and policies from the underlying network equipment allows for a more programmable network," said Rohit Mehra, Vice President, Network Infrastructure at IDC. "Providing better alignment with the underlying applications, this programmability allows for greater levels of flexibility, innovation, and control in the network. Logic and policies that can be defined, changed, and modified result in a more dynamic network, providing the scale network administrators so desperately crave."

Software-defined networking (SDN) has brought innovation and change to the networking market. In many respects, SDN is riding the wave of a "perfect storm," with several market and technology factors converging:

  • Growth of cloud services/applications
  • Focus on converged infrastructures (compute/storage/network) and on the software-defined datacenter
  • Lessons learned (and benefits derived) from server virtualization
  • Customer frustration with the network's inability to provide the flexibility required to support virtualization, cloud, and mobility

SDN also presents a tremendous opportunity as many large and small incumbent vendors strategize on how to deliver on the SDN promise. In addition, a number of start-up companies have launched their portfolios or are in advanced pilots and trial deployments across a wide cross-section of customers, including enterprises and cloud providers. "For many of the SDN-related solution providers, some of them still in stealth-mode, 2013 is likely to be a year of reckoning," said Brad Casemore, Research Director, Datacenter Networks.

IDC has identified five emerging SDN start ups to watch as they battle for position amongst each other, and against existing players in this evolving market.

1. Big Switch Networks
Big Switch Networks bills itself as the "leader in Open Software-Defined Networking," reflecting its commitment to an SDN platform that is based on industry standards, open application programming interfaces (APIs), and open source software.

2. Embrane
Embrane's heleos -- a multi-service, distributed software architecture -- delivers virtual Layer 3-7 network services for both traditional and software-defined networks (SDNs).

3. Midokura
Midokura's vision involves employing network virtualization to provide a flexible, customizable, and adaptable network infrastructure for cloud service providers and enterprises.

4. Plexxi Inc.
Plexxi's product portfolio features Plexxi Control, a server-based software controller that allows service providers and enterprises to model affinities between workload resources and to ensure that the underlying network supports them.

5. Vello Systems
Vello Systems provides software infrastructure for building large-scale networks that optimize the locality of application workloads and corresponding data.

The IDC study, Five Emerging SDN Vendors to Watch in 2013 (IDC #238748), takes a closer look at the rapidly emerging market and ecosystem for software-defined networking (SDN) and profiles five emerging vendors in this market, including their portfolio and positioning, their differentiation and strategy for the near term.

To purchase this study, please contact IDC Sales at 508-988-7988 or [email protected]

About IDC
International Data Corporation (IDC) is the premier global provider of market intelligence, advisory services, and events for the information technology, telecommunications, and consumer technology markets. IDC helps IT professionals, business executives, and the investment community to make fact-based decisions on technology purchases and business strategy. More than 1,000 IDC analysts provide global, regional, and local expertise on technology and industry opportunities and trends in over 110 countries. For more than 48 years, IDC has provided strategic insights to help our clients achieve their key business objectives. IDC is a subsidiary of IDG, the world's leading technology media, research, and events company. You can learn more about IDC by visiting

All product and company names may be trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective holders.

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