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Enterprises Prefer Open Source SDN Technology from Commercial Vendors

When it comes to software-defined networking (SDN) and network functions virtualization (NFV) solutions, almost all enterprise-level organizations prefer open source solutions, but three quarters of them want those open source solutions to come from commercial vendors, according to a new report from the OpenDaylight Project.

The report, "SDN, NFV and Open Source: The Operator's View," was based on a December 2013 survey commissioned by the OpenDaylight Project and conducted by Gigaom Research. Gigaom surveyed 300 enterprises and 300 service providers in North America about their plans for and perspectives on SDN, NFV and open source and determined that "industry standards and open systems will play a strong role in the timely widespread adoption and ultimate success of both SDN and NFV solutions," according to the report.

The report found that organizations want open source technology because of potential cost savings and freedom of choice, but they want the open source technology to come from commercial vendors because they associate those vendors with proven delivery and support practices. The report also found that organizations want systems that follow industry standards, which improve system interoperability and reduce vendor lock-in, and according to a post on the OpenDaylight blog, open source projects can "create de facto standards through common code development."

Other key findings from the report:

  • Organizations' deployment timelines for SDN and NFV are very aggressive but will likely be slowed down by financial, technical and organizational pressures;
  • Security is a key driver behind networking advancements, followed by improved network service levels, reduced operating costs and reduced capital costs; and
  • For enterprises, the wireless local area network (WLAN) is the highest priority target for SDN and NFV solutions, probably because of bring-your-own-device (BYOD) initiatives.

The full report, "SDN, NFV and Open Source: The Operator's View," is available as a free PDF download from the OpenDaylight Project's site.

About the Author

Leila Meyer is a technology writer based in British Columbia. She can be reached at leilameyer@gmail.com.

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