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Predicting SDN Adoption

by Andrew Lerner  |  December 8, 2014  |  3 Comments

We just published our annual network-related “Predicts” research. In this research, we forecast major changes in the enterprise networking market and this version includes predictions regarding WAN, SDN and network certifications. With regards to SDN, we predict that:

By the end of 2016, more than 10,000 enterprises worldwide will have deployed SDN in their networks, a tenfold increase from end-of-year 2014.

Along these lines, at our recent Data Center Conference, we polled the audience and asked: When do you plan to deploy SDN in production?  While it is a small sample size (n=44), it still provides some insight into what folks are thinking as “Within 5 Years” was the top answer with over 30% of respondents, ahead of “I don’t know” and “Within 2 years” (see below). whenSDN

Here’s the info on the full predicts research:

Predicts 2015: Enterprise Networking and Network Services (Multiple Authors), http://www.gartner.com/docshare?resId=2935617

Summary:  Enterprise networking and network services continue to be areas of ongoing significant change. This research highlights the changes driven by software-defined networking, virtualized network services and external cloud services.

Regards, Andrew

Category: just-published  networking  sdn  wan  

Tags: conference  sdn  

Andrew Lerner
Research Vice President
4 years at Gartner
19 years IT Industry

Andrew Lerner is a Vice President in Gartner Research. He covers enterprise networking, including data center, campus and WAN with a focus on emerging technologies (SDN, SD-WAN, and Intent-based networking). Read Full Bio


Thoughts on Predicting SDN Adoption


  1. Kendra Cyrus says:

    Thank Andrew for this incisive analysis.

  2. Jacob Cox says:

    You state that “By the end of 2016, more than 10,000 enterprises worldwide will have deployed SDN in their networks, a tenfold increase from end-of-year 2014.” How did this prediction pan out?

    Do you have any analysis for campus and government adoption of SDN? I’m hoping you do. I’d like to see how adoption compares between campus, government, and industry networks.

    • Andrew Lerner says:

      We are probably in the 2,500-5,000 (total) range based on commercial paying customers purchasing products based on an SDN architecture. Campus adoption is relatively light, although several hundred are out there. Government adoption is actually higher than you would probably anticipate, as there a decent number of scaled implementations.



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