Both NV and SDN controller benefits and drivers are similar, which is not surprising since NV is often depending on the use of an SDN controller to achieve its results. Users see the benefit of using software technologies to create logical connections over physical resources, virtualizing the networking infrastructure. This can simplify networking management, speed up the delivery of new services, and potentially reduce costs.
This is different from the way that networking systems have been built in the past, where most systems were implemented using proprietary hardware platforms that often came with integrated management systems. In our discussions with end-users and the collection of survey data, we have learned that these perceived benefits are almost universal: End users see software-driven management of networking, including many open source tools, as easier and more flexible to use. Both enterprise network managers and service providers tell us they like the attributes of NV and SDN because it means that they can deliver services and service changes more rapidly, using software, rather than ripping and replacing large swaths of hardware.
The move to a virtualized, SDN environment has other potential benefits: It’s expected to drive the use of standardized, commodity off-the-shelf (COTS) hardware, which can drive down costs. Our research indicates benefit is seen by users as secondary to flexibility and service agility.
The demands on the network are growing exponentially, with the explosion of users, devices, and apps requiring resources. Both NV and SDN give organizations a way to keep up. This is why end users see the capability to deploy, change, and move network resources as more compatible with this fast-moving environment.
Network Virtualization Benefits
For the past two years, in our user surveys and discussions, organizations have cited the flexibility NV delivers as the biggest benefit. When asked to choose all the benefits that apply to NV, an overwhelming 78% picked flexibility. This year, operational cost savings was next (54%), followed by scalability (52%).
When we asked the community about the biggest benefits of NV technology, vendors and customers alike put flexibility at the top of the list (they could choose all that applied). This is the second year in a row that flexibility has overwhelmingly been identified as NV’s biggest value in our survey, indicating that users are continuing to see NV as a technology that can help them tie their IT investments to business initiatives that go beyond cost cutting. Once again, capital cost savings was lower bottom on the list – chosen by 41% of end-users, and 39% of technology vendors.