Results of Cross-Continent SDN Survey

American and European service providers agree on SDN benefits and challenges with key differences

U.S. and European service providers share similar SDN business drivers and challenges, but Europe has a lower deployment rate and is more concerned about reducing costs as well as managing the technology. These are the main results of a Packet Design survey of more than 200 network service providers on both continents. The company polled more than 100 service providers and equipment providers at the 2014 MPLS SDN World Congress in Paris last month (more than half of the respondents were based in Europe). This adds to the results of the survey of 100 service providers Packet Design conducted at the 16th annual MPLS/SDN International Conference in Washington, D.C. last November.

Key Findings:

  • More than 90 percent of the 200+ survey respondents are exploring SDN in some way. However, only eight percent of EU-based respondents said they currently have some production deployment compared to 20 percent of the U.S. survey respondents.
    Both geographies indicated the same SDN business drivers: support new services, increase business agility, and improve productivity. Europe is more concerned about reducing expenditures: More than one-third of European respondents said reducing operational (19 percent) or capital (13 percent) expenditures is the top business reason for investigating SDN. In the U.S., it is 13 percent and four percent, respectively.
  • Service providers on both continents agreed that complexity is their number one concern about SDN (Europe: 46 percent; U.S.: 57 percent). They also agreed on other top concerns: vendor lock-in (25 percent average), cost to implement (25 percent average), and lack of management visibility (22 percent average). An average of 11 percent said SDN is not worth the effort and cost. (Respondents were able to list more than one concern).
  • Europeans are even more concerned than their stateside counterparts that some of their existing management tools will not work with SDN (85 percent versus 71 percent in the U.S.). Most also agree that SDN creates new management challenges that require new tools (average of 83 percent). About one-third of the 200+ surveyed are depending upon their network equipment vendor(s) to supply the SDN management tools they need.

“The survey results show that service providers have the will to move to SDN, but Europe is being a bit more conservative deploying it,” said Steve Harriman, senior vice president of marketing for Packet Design. “The complexity and new management challenges the respondents called out provide good reason for caution, since traditional management and device-centric methods and tools will be inadequate in an automated network. Whether building their own or waiting on vendors to develop SDN management tools, service providers and enterprises alike need real-time intelligence to gain visibility into and control of the SDN environment before it can be widely adopted.”

For the full survey results, visit the Packet Design blog at:
https://www.packetdesign.com/blog/comparing-and-contrasting-sdn-across-the-pond