And finally, we asked about the relationship between SDN and Network Function Virtualization. Until recently, the conventional wisdom was SDN and NFV were separate topics and didn’t need to be formally coordinated. That changed in March 2014 when the Open Networking Foundation (ONF) and the European Telecommunications Standards Institute Industry Specification Group for NFV (ETSI NFV ISG) announced the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). As part of that announcement, the ONF and ETSI stated that “Together the organizations will explore the application of SDN configuration and control protocols as the base for the network infrastructure supporting NFV, and conversely the possibilities that NFV opens for virtualizing the forwarding plane functions.”
The survey respondents were asked to indicate the relationship that their company sees between SDN and NFV and they were allowed to check all that applied. Their answers (Table 8) indicate the vast majority of IT organizations believe SDN and NFV are complimentary activities and a significant percentage believe that in at least some instances NFV requires SDN. This implies that a relatively large percentage of IT organizations will tie, at least loosely, their SDN implementation with their NFV implementation.
Early in the discussion about emerging technologies IT professionals tend to be optimistic about when the new tech may be widely adopted, which happened with SDN. However, the further into the development the more realistic adoption estimates become. Our research indicates SDN won’t be broadly adopted until there are mature solutions, well understood and accepted business cases and a set of best practices relative to how to integrate SDN into the rest of the infrastructure. That won’t happen in 2015 and may not happen in 2016.
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