Software-defined networking tops leading technologies list for 2016.

It looks like software-defined networking (SDN) is a top technology investment this year. At least that’s what a recent Computer Economics study found. In fact, SDN ranked #1, according to the the study, which polled IT organizations on their experiences with 12 leading technologies and ranked them based on their overall risk-reward profile.


Conducted by Computer Economics, an Irvine, Calif., IT research and advisory services firm, the Technology Trends 2016 study is based on a survey of 214 IT organizations worldwide conducted from September through December 2015. According to the research firm, the IT organizations were asked about their technology adoption plans for the 18-month period stretching into the first half of 2017, as well as their return on investment and total cost of ownership experience over the previous two-year period.

Computer Economics says the study found that that SDN is still an emerging technology in the early stages of adoption. Nonetheless, SDN is becoming a central component of state-of-the-art data centers, and thus far has exhibited outstanding customer experience, according to the research firm. Other technologies that scored highly in customer experience include infrastructure as a service, and tablet computers, Computer Economics says.

SDN abstracts higher-level network control functions into a software application so network administrators can more easily manage, automate and reconfigure dynamic networks. Red Hat believes open-source SDN can provide enterprises with more flexible and automated data center infrastructures, which is why Red Hat is a platinum member of the OpenDaylight Project, an open source project designed to help accelerate the development of technology available to users and enable widespread adoption of SDN and create a solid foundation for network functions virtualization (NFV). We’ve also partnered with Nuage Networks and Intel on SDN and have certified SDN products from a variety of our partners for use on our products like Red Hat Enterprise Linux and the Red Hat Enterprise Linux OpenStack Platform, including those from 6Wind, Avi Networks, Big Switch Networks, and Midokura.

By the way, even though SDN adoption is still early days, we expect that to change, especially given the growing interest in SDN and network functions virtualization (NFV) by ICT and telco companies. A recent report from SNS Research estimates that service provider SDN and NFV investments will grow at a compounded annual growth rate of 54 percent between 2015 and 2020, eventually accounting for more than $20 billion in revenue by the end of 2020.

Computer Economics points out that as newer technologies like SDN become more common, it’s likely customer experiences will be less rosy. As the firm notes in the study, SDN has the highest satisfaction rating in the study, surpassing other technologies by a wide margin, but that satisfaction level could drop as more companies deploy it.

“As it becomes more widely adopted, our customer experience ratings will likely decline,” Frank Scavo, president of Computer Economics, said in a prepared statement. “Nevertheless, this is one technology that all IT organizations should be examining closely given the feedback we received from adopters.”

What do you all think? Has your organization implemented SDN? Are you satisfied with the technology so far? And what does the future hold? Let us know in the comments section below.

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