Software-defined networking (SDN) is a network management technology and strategy that promotes dynamic and efficient network configuration.
Enterprises use SDN solutions to improve their network performance and monitoring.
Here is everything you need to know about the global SDN market:
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The SDN market had one estimated value of $9.2 billion in 2020. It is projected to reach $35.6 billion by 2026, following a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 25.4% from 2022 to 2027.
Several geographic regions are driving the growth in the SDN market:
- The US market was worth an estimated $4.1 billion in 2020
- China has the second largest market share, which is expected to reach US$7.8 billion by 2027, maintaining a CAGR of 26.2%.
- Japan and Canada are expected to grow 14.7% and 18.1%, respectively, from 2020 to 2027, above forecast
- Germany is expected to grow at a CAGR of 17.2% through 2027
- The Asia Pacific market is estimated to be worth US$5.7 billion by 2027
By industry, the professional services market is expected to retain the largest share of the SDN market with a 70% revenue share. Other notable industries include:
- Banking, Financial Services and Insurance (BFSI)
- retail and consumer goods
- health care
- Manufacturing and IT-based services
SDN solutions aim to improve network control and management. Their architecture consists of three layers: applications, control, and infrastructure that communicates with APIs.
The application layer
The application layer contains the application that your organization uses. This can be anything from cybersecurity systems that detect intruders and threats to firewalls and load balancers.
Unlike traditional networks that require specialized apps, SDNs use controllers to manage data plane behavior.
The Control Layer
The control layer is the brain of the SDN. It resides on its own server and manages policies and traffic flow across the network.
In the SDN structure, it communicates north and south with the system’s APIs.
The infrastructure layer
The infrastructure layer is the physical aspect of the network. It consists of the switches that route the incoming and outgoing network to its destination.
As a solution, SDN technology simplifies and streamlines how organizations manage the flow of data across their internal networks.
Other SDN benefits include:
- Reduces operational complexity
- Eliminates the need for manual configuration
- Easy 3rd party integrations
- Leverages open APIs for faster time to market
- Improves network management and visibility
- Reduces hardware footprint and lowers costs
“SDN, as an architectural approach, optimizes what these virtualization techniques can do.” says IBM in a white paper on SDN.
“It provides the dynamic intelligence and orchestration that continuously optimizes the use and delivery of virtualized network resources and the flow of data across the network infrastructure.”
SDN Use Cases
Here are some examples of how organizations across different industries have used SDN solutions to better manage their internal networks.
Airbus Helicopters is a manufacturing division of Airbus. Headquartered in France, it is one of the largest companies in its market, both in terms of production and turnover.
The German division Airbus Helicopters Germany had to upgrade its network hardware by replacing Nexus 2000 switches with new hardware from the Nexus 900 series. In transitioning to Cisco Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI), the company received the company’s industry-leading SDN solution.
“Cisco DNA Center includes out-of-the-box ServiceNow integrations. We can use Cisco APIs to automatically open and close technical support tickets when physical and logical issues arise in our campus network.” says Ezequiel Perez-RodenasNetwork Engineer at Airbus Helicopters, Germany.
“The resulting paradigm shift helped us simplify network management, increase security, handle ever-increasing workloads, and leverage IoT and BYOD connectivity.”
The newly implemented SDN network connected multiple buildings and almost 2,000 users. Airbus Helicopter replaces about 20% of its existing infrastructure, about 43 switches.
CloudSeeds is a provider of cloud engineering and consulting services based in Hamburg, Germany, since 2013. It helps its business customers scale their networks to achieve their goals through infrastructure virtualization and IT services.
To offer a new class of automated services, CloudSeeds needed a new network platform to meet the demand. With an open architecture, it can anticipate future growth requirements.
“SDN is well used for cloud infrastructures. Using Contrail has enabled us to create a software-defined network that seamlessly integrates disparate locations into a single unified cloud,” says Kevin FibachFounder and CEO, CloudSeeds.
“Once the equipment is physically in place and the software overlay is up and running, it takes just minutes to get new servers up and running, or we can even provision a whole new data center for customers in a matter of hours.”
The result was zero-touch network provisioning, enabling services to be provisioned in minutes instead of weeks. The new SDN infrastructure is resilient and cost-effective.
Ensono is a provider of managed IT services for cloud transformation. It works with companies around the world, helping them adopt network solutions that enable growth and efficiency.
Ensono wanted to expand its private cloud to meet increasing demand for network and security services with audit and compliance requirements. A way also had to be found to support its rapid growth while maintaining a minimal increase in headcount.
By implementing multiple offerings from VMware, Ensono was able to upgrade its network infrastructure to meet its needs and future expectations.
“With NSX, we’ve been able to offer our customers self-service and API access while adding enhanced security features like distributed firewall and micro-segmentation.” says Steven LordSenior Manager of Product Management, Ensono.
“With automation at the heart of the project, we not only simplified operations for our customers, but also deployed an automated disaster recovery (DR) platform on the Ensono Private Cloud with simple testing in the software-defined DR bubble.”
Ensono reports that it has saved between $10 million and $15 million over the five years since implementing VMware’s SDN solutions. It improved control over its IT environment and automated the provisioning of virtual machines and layers of security in minutes.
Some of the leading SDN solution providers in the market are:
- Juniper Networks
- Colt technology
- Versa Networks
- Junos space
- Nuage Networks
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