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New Forrester Research Study on SDN Adoption for Heterogeneous Cloud Environments

This week Forrester Research released a new study Expanding IT Automation Through Cross-Technology SDN Platforms, sponsored by Nokia and Nuage Networks. The research is a Technology Adoption Profile (TAP), a format in which Forrester summarizes market surveys and custom research questionnaires to show how IT organizations are using and benefiting from emerging technology and industry trends.

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Nuage Networks wanted to gather and publish the market research on how organizations were deploying SDN solutions across a number of cloud environments, specifically multiple open source cloud platforms, both private and hybrid cloud environments, and various server virtualization technologies, including traditional VMs and Docker containers. The Forrester TAP studies rely on easy-to-understand infographics to show the key findings and are very light on text, basically summarizing each of the key survey results, making the documents particularly insightful and quick to digest.

The research was conducted in December 2015 and January 2016 across large IT organizations in the US and Europe and across all major industries. Forrester first validated that IT infrastructure is quickly becoming a patchwork of data center and cloud technologies as organizations are faced with legacy applications and architectures, and they adopt multiple emerging cloud platforms and open source approaches. A majority of those surveyed were all shown to be investing in hybrid cloud, NFV use cases, and Docker containers (as well as more traditional data center infrastructure).

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Forrester also shows the importance of open source cloud platforms across these enterprise customers, with roughly 1/3 of private cloud platforms based on open source deployments. As they concluded, this places a heavy demand on SDN and virtual networking infrastructure to form the glue across multiple environments with a lot of interoperability requirements, and they must avoid vendor lock-in as a primary requirement:

Organizations integrating open source along with building a heterogeneous infrastructure means that there are numerous moving parts that require interoperability as a primary requirement. They need solutions that do not lock them in to a single vendor or monolithic cloud stack and can effectively handle multiple cloud environments.

As a result, Forrester concludes that organizations are looking to adopt SDN platforms that orchestrate cloud environments across a number of heterogeneous technologies and vendors. They surveyed the organizations on the benefits they expected to receive from adopting an SDN solution such as Nuage Networks VSP that is designed for heterogeneous cloud technologies. Key benefits included the opportunity to simplify operations, flexibility to adopt emerging platforms and feature in the future, and the ability to deploy applications anywhere in the cloud.

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Simplifying the orchestration of multiple best-of-breed cloud solutions through a single SDN platform has an impact on top-level data center initiatives. Sixty percent or more of decision-makers in our study reported that an SDN platform that is capable of handling multiple environments has either a high or extremely high impact on their ability to upgrade their security environment, refresh or upgrade their network, pursue cloud-based services, and expand desktop as well as server virtualization.

In short, an SDN capable of handling multiple cloud environments allows decision-makers to make greater use of their existing infrastructures without the need to completely overhaul and invest in a new one.

Forrester noted that supporting open source cloud platforms was a key factor in choosing the SDN platform for 2/3 of decision makers surveyed. The ability to support open source cloud platforms, as well as hybrid cloud environments, multiple application development and deployment platforms, while optimizing the current infrastructure was a key differentiator in selecting the optimal SDN platform.

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Forrester further concludes:

A successful transition toward becoming a digital business requires a flexible and agile platform that ignites and extinguishes the appropriate resources as needed by the business, utilizing the most beneficial source from a multivendor set of resources. Creating a business-optimized hybrid infrastructure can only occur if the SDN solution brings the simplicity, agility, and flexibility from a single SDN methodology across the entire infrastructure and cloud technologies.

We encourage you to download the full study to get the additional survey results, more detailed analysis on the nature of the benefits organizations are achieving and expect in the future with their SDN platform, and the full analysis by Forrester.

Excellent follow-up information from Nuage Networks that documents our specific approach to open source solutions and our support for heterogeneous cloud environments to meet the requirements laid out in this TAP research study can be found in the following white papers and solution briefs:

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