We’ve seen the hype cycle played out yearly, but as 2015 is just beginning, it’s important to think about which buzzphrases will remain relevant, which will die out, and which will actually become a tangible asset to IT.
One thing is for sure: software-defined networking is going to be a continuing topic of interest. Right now, we have a lot of players in the market forces battling it out to influence, architect, and ultimately define what SDN means. It seems to be the prime real estate that a lot of the industry giants are beginning to lay a claim on. Companies like Cisco and Brocade have a lot at stake—businesses rely heavily on hardware-specific solutions to SDN, their network upgrade revenue is a significant contribution to their overall profits and revenue.
So, instead of guessing where SDN is headed, let’s discuss where it is right now. The world of SDN right now is extremely limited to massive tech leaders, like Google, and it will take a while until SDN becomes a tangible reality for enterprises. For enterprises as well as smaller organizations, this is the current state of the market:
- Smaller, more nimble upstart organizations want to avoid anything that will be a closed ecosystem, a hardware-specific solution, so they’re taking a service and application approach
- What does this all mean? Customers aren’t sure what SDN means to them—it’s confusing and the dust hasn’t settled
Given where SDN is in terms of its evolution in the marketplace, and its potential advantages to customers, my advice to customers is to be smart, pragmatic, and take a very close look as to where you upgrade, but more importantly why you are upgrading.
- Avoid traditional policy upgrades where you can
- Work with third-party maintenance options that put you back in the driver’s seat for determining where/what you want to upgrade
- If the equipment you’re currently working with meets your business needs, use it during this period of transition
Now is not the right time to do a major wholesale upgrade when two years from now, SDN can be much clearer in terms of the advantages it will bring to the upgrade.
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