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October 8, 2014

UK firms struggle to grasp software defined networking

Barriers to SDN adoption remain.

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Nearly half of UK organisations are ready to adopt software defined networking (SDN) even though they don’t understand it.

A survey of 200 IT decision makers found that 40% of businesses are planning to deploy SDN, which promises to make the network more flexible, easier to manage and more secure, within the next five years.

Another 34% said they are planning to adopt Network Functions Virtualisation (NFV) during the same period, with 27% keen to do so before 2018.

However, 37% of decision makers admitted that they did not fully understand the concept of SDN, while 45% said the same about NFV.

Marcus Jewell, EMEA VP at Brocade, which commissioned the survey, said: "A significant number of businesses are looking to SDN and NFV to help create a network fit for the demands of the future. While our findings show that there is growing enthusiasm among IT leaders for these technologies, a significant number still do not fully understand the potential benefits.

"It’s clear therefore that more education is needed if SDN and NFV are to truly realise a new kind of IP network that is better aligned with the evolution of the rest of IT."

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The research also revealed that 63% of respondents expect cloud computing to have the biggest impact on their business in the next five years.

"Given the focus on efficiency, it is not surprising that many organisations expect to be increasingly reliant on cloud services in the coming year, as this is potentially a great way for IT departments to deliver more value without increasing capital expenditure," said Jewell.

He added: "Cloud computing – in conjunction with pervasive mobility and the Internet of Things – will also have a major impact on the role of the New IP. These are all network-centric computing models and so will only add to the need for fast, flexible, and reliable connectivity. It is therefore vital that the network is fit-for-purpose so it can enable, rather than inhibit, the expected growth of cloud services."

Meanwhile, just 12% expect wearable technology to have any impact on their organizations, even though the market is set to reach $53.2bn in global retail revenues for vendors by 2019, according to Juniper Research.

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