Published: August 21st, 2014

It’s the latest buzzworthy technology trend, and according to research firm IDC Corp. the worldwide software-defined networking (SDN) market will hit over $8 billion by 2018.

IDC says SDN is gaining ground as the data centre networking standard of choice in the enterprise and cloud service provider markets, and the worldwide SDN market is expected to grow from $960 million in 2014 to over $8 billion by 2018 with a robust CAGR of 89.4 per cent. The forecast includes in-use physical network infrastructure, controller and network-virtualization software, SDN network and security services and related applications and SDN-related professional services.

IDC sees SDN emerging as a key driver for innovation and change in the networking market as several trends converge, including the growth of cloud applications and services, a focus on converged infrastructures, lessons learned from server virtualization and increased demand for a flexible network to support cloud, mobility, Big Data, and Internet of Things applications

“SDN is taking center stage among innovative approaches to some of the networking challenges brought about by the rise of the 3rd Platform, particularly virtualization and cloud computing,” said Rohit Mehra, vice-president, network infrastructure at IDC. “With SDN’s growing traction in the data centre for cloud deployments, enterprise IT is beginning to see the value in potentially extending SDN to the WAN and into the campus to meet the demand for more agile approaches to network architecture, provisioning, and operations.”

Use cases for SDN that IDC sees driving adoption include web scaling for hosting/public cloud providers, private/hybrid cloud deployments, network programmability/customization and security applications.

“The 2014 through 2016 period will be a significant launch point for SDN in the enterprise, with significant growth opportunities for both enterprise-focused SDN infrastructure and cloud service providers,” said Brad Casemore, research director for data centre networks with IDC, in a statement.