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“.
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:
- Beyond the Hype: SDN Delivers Real-World Benefits in Mainstream Enterprises, http://www.gartner.com/document/2874018 (We discuss the A-Team implementations that have dominated the mainstream implementations to date).
- Ask Your SDN Vendor Seven Key Questions Before You Buy, http://www.gartner.com/document/2863919 (We dive into details around references)
Note: Image courtesy of http://forum.kodi.tv/
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