Gartner Blog Network

Mind the Gap as SDN Crosses the Chasm to Mainstream Adoption

by Andrew Lerner  |  November 3, 2014  |  Submit a Comment

This is a critical juncture in the life-cycle of SDN adoption, as we are currently at the intersection of several factors including:

  • Most mainstream vendors have SDN (and related technologies) that are generally available and shipping. At this point, we’ve mostly moved beyond slideware and marketecture.
  • The mainstream vendors are pushing these technologies to end-users via local sales teams and channel.
  • There is increasing interest from mainstream interest in these technologies.

However, to this point, the majority of mainstream SDN adopters been given the “white glove” treatment. They have been heavily supported by the vendors’ development and engineering teams – the “A team“.ateam

However, this model of delivery obviously doesn’t scale from the vendors’ perspective. Moving forward, the local sales account teams and channels are being trained, but we all know that there’s nothing quite akin to real-world knowledge. Thus, right now is likely the riskiest time to implement SDN in the mainstream.

But there are things you can do.  First, you can demand the A team and if you’re large enough, important enough, or spend enough, you’ll get them. But most organizations will not…after all, there is only one A team to go around. Or, you could also simply wait, and let the knowledge proliferate…  However, most mainstream folks wanting to implement SDN in the next several quarters will have to deal with vendor/channel “B” and “C” teams.  In doing so, at a minimum, make sure you get experienced team members and ask for references.  These are the resources that may have shadowed the A-team, but make sure they have at least 2-3 (and hopefully more) implementations of similar scale/environments under their built.  If not, make the vendor eat the implementation/migration professional services costs – i.e., don’t let the vendor/channel learn SDN on your dime and time.

We cover this more a bit more in-depth in published research including:

 Note: Image courtesy of


Additional Resources

View Free, Relevant Gartner Research

Gartner's research helps you cut through the complexity and deliver the knowledge you need to make the right decisions quickly, and with confidence.

Read Free Gartner Research

Category: networking  sdn  staffing  

Tags: channel  implementation  professional-services  

Andrew Lerner
Research Vice President
6+ years at Gartner
21 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

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Comments or opinions expressed on this blog are those of the individual contributors only, and do not necessarily represent the views of Gartner, Inc. or its management. Readers may copy and redistribute blog postings on other blogs, or otherwise for private, non-commercial or journalistic purposes, with attribution to Gartner. This content may not be used for any other purposes in any other formats or media. The content on this blog is provided on an "as-is" basis. Gartner shall not be liable for any damages whatsoever arising out of the content or use of this blog.