Working with General Dynamics IT and market research firm MeriTalk, Juniper Networks commissioned its third Software Defined Networking (SDN) and Automation survey with a specific focus on federal government. This year’s survey, Dawn of SDN Government, includes responses from 128 federal IT decision makers about their IT environments, consolidation efforts and commitment to SDN.
SDN has had a lot of hype in the past three years, but now we are seeing the benefits of SDN and its sister capability, Network Functions Virtualization (NFV), within public carriers and cloud providers. In these business segments, SDN is being adopted at a rapid pace. However, typical of federal technology adoption, the government IT professionals’ surveyed saw a lagging yet growing SDN adoption rate and those who have adopted are already seeing tangible benefits.
The survey found that more than one-third of respondents are currently implementing SDN and an additional one-third have plans to implement SDN in the future. Linking this adoption to a critical government imperative, more than one-half of respondents (52%) say SDN plays a role in application rationalization planning – the changing and consolidation of an agency’s application inventory to facilitate data center consolidation and application delivery.
In fact, SDN’s ability to support data center and cloud consolidation and virtualization contributes to its adoption and links the practical value of SDN to the Cloud. An interesting finding was that more than half (62%) of federal respondents said that they manage multiple vendors within their data center and will leverage cloud management functionality to manage an IT consolidation environment. In this case, open competition drives better government pricing and requires open standards and interoperability to achieve the desired government benefits.
Juniper understands the importance to meet the demands of having an interoperable and open network. To accommodate this, we have introduced the MetaFabric Architecture so customers could have a simple, open and intelligent approach to their network.
Survey findings also show that government IT professionals who are currently implementing SDN are experiencing better than expected security, equipment cost savings, and network performance. Virtualization plays into those findings and the survey showed that government IT professionals who implemented SDN expected to be 17 percent more virtualized than those without SDN. A trend of NFV as a function of government information assurance is beginning to show in surveys as well.
How can IT teams prepare their agencies for SDN adoption? Survey respondents point to management and technology areas that agencies must address:
• Increased personnel training (43%) • Reduction in the number of redundant systems (40%) • Increase investments in virtualization (39%) • Improved collaboration between IT and other departments (38%) • Executive support for SDN incubation within network operations (53%)