Juniper: Security could help drive interest in SDN

Juniper finds that enterprise interest in software-defined networking (SDN) is influenced by other factors, including artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML).

Security challenges and developing artificial intelligence/maching learning (AI/ML) technologies are among the key issues driving software-defined networking (SDN) implementations, according to a new Juniper survey of 500 IT decision makers.

And SDN interest abounds – 98% of the 500 said they were already using or considering an SDN implementation. Juniper said it had Wakefield Research poll IT decision makers of companies with 500 or more employees about their SDN strategies between May 7 and May 14, 2019.

SDN includes technologies that separate the network control plane from the forwarding plane to enable more automated provisioning and policy-based management of network resources. 

IDC estimates that the worldwide data-center SDN market will be worth more than $12 billion in 2022, recording a CAGR of 18.5% during the 2017-2022 period. The market-generated revenue of nearly $5.15 billion in 2017 was up more than 32.2% from 2016.

There are many ideas driving the development of SDN. For example, it promises to reduce the complexity of statically defined networks; make automating network functions much easier; and allow for simpler provisioning and management of networked resources from the data center to the campus or wide area network.

While the evolution of SDN is ongoing, Juniper’s study pointed out an issue that was perhaps not unexpected – many users are still managing operations via the command line interface (CLI). CLI is the primary text-based user interface used for configuring, monitoring and maintaining most networked devices.

“If SDN is as attractive as it is then why manage the network with the same legacy technology of the past?” said Michael Bushong, vice president of enterprise and cloud marketing at Juniper Networks. “If you deploy SDN and don’t adjust the operational model then it is difficult to reap all the benefits SDN can bring.  It’s the difference between managing devices individually which you may have done in the past to managing fleets of devices via SDN – it simplifies and reduces operational expenses.”

Juniper pointed to a Gartner prediction that stated “by 2020, only 30% of network operations teams will use the command line interface (CLI) as their primary interface, down from 85% at years end 2016.”  Garter stated that poll results from a recent Gartner conference found some 71% still using CLI as the primary way to make network changes.

Gartner wrote in the past that CLI has remained

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