Software-defined networking (SDN) is more than just
the latest techie hype. It’s playing an ever-increasing role among
organizations, yet a TechRepublic survey in April revealed that at least
50 percent of the respondents were unfamiliar with SDN.

Download the full “Research: Leaders share software-defined networking’s benefits, obstacles, favored vendors” report.

important to become familiar with SDN because of the benefits it can
provide. Traditional network management typically requires setting up
each network-attached device individually. For example, configuring a
virtual local area network access control list on a set of Cisco
switches necessitates logging into each and making the necessary
adjustments. While this approach has worked somewhat successfully in the
past, it can become time consuming when organizations add BYOD and
numerous cloud services to their networks.

SDN can help because
the objective of network management is to allow various devices, whether
company-, vendor-, or employee-owned, to connect to networks with
access and usage constraints based on the who-what-when-where-how-why of
each session. This requires consistent application of policies across
all devices. Further, an administrator making a policy change should not
have to spend hours making individual device changes, and those changes
must be consistent across the enterprise. This is the role of SDN. It
provides consistent, relatively fast network management by enabling
network-wide changes from a single management console.

TechRepublic survey asked 111 respondents about the new technologies
they planned to implement during the next 12 months. As seen in the
figure below, SDN wasn’t their first choice, but this wasn’t a surprise
since half of survey respondents were unfamiliar with SDN. But among
those at least somewhat familiar with SDN, it’s possible that 64 percent
plan to implement it over the next year.

organizations reported a plan to implement SDN, but very few have
actually done so, with only 5 percent reporting implementation, as seen
in the figure below. It is interesting that 56 percent of respondents
are interested in SDN in the next year, which means it is not likely to
make it into their 2014 budget.

The TechRepublic survey focuses on several SDN-related topics:

  • What is SDN
  • Future implementation plans
  • Business drivers
  • Methods of integrating SDN into network infrastructure
  • Cloud services management
  • Why organizations choose not to implement SDN
  • Favored vendors

Read the full “Research: Leaders share software-defined networking’s benefits, obstacles, favored vendors”
report to find out more about the current state of SDN. The survey
reveals that, while providing much promise, SDN is still a burgeoning
technology. Use the TechRepublic report to plan your own implementation
and learn about what works and what doesn’t work from other IT leaders
who adopted it early. 

Download the full “Research: Leaders share software-defined networking’s benefits, obstacles, favored vendors” report. 

This article originally appeared on ZDNet as part of its Next Generation Networks special feature.