GCC Enterprises Increasingly Eyeing Benefits of Software-Defined Networking

30 Sep 2015

Software-defined networking (SDN) is increasingly gaining traction among enterprises in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), according to the latest insights from International Data Corporation. The global consulting and advisory services firm has identified faster deployment of IT network resources, cost savings from the improved utilization of resources, and greater scalability and flexibility as the biggest drivers of SDN adoption across the region.

"The past few years have seen a significant increase in demand for mobility, cloud, and Big Data services from enterprises in the GCC region," says Mohamed Twaishi, senior research manager of telecoms and media at IDC Middle East, Africa and Turkey. "This demand is in turn generating a need for these organizations to possess agile and efficient networks that are capable of coping with the greater amount of services and increasing traffic and consumption patterns, especially with the rising number of connected devices and interfaces.This is all creating the 'perfect storm' for SDN adoption as enterprises increasingly recognize the inherent benefits it has to offer."

SDN also promises to address the business and technical challenges being faced by communications service providers (CSPs) in the region. "Network infrastructure is the backbone of the CSP skeleton," says Twaishi. "It represents the nervous system that supports application, service, and content delivery to enterprises and other service providers. There are numerous opportunities that arise from shifting control from hardware to software and removing proprietary limitations. Altogether, these opportunities deliver more agility and enable new service delivery mechanisms that make the network more dynamic to changes in business requirements."

IDC's research shows that the region's CSPs are increasingly focusing on enhancing their ability to serve content through flexible networks, and a sizeable portion of datacenter capacity is being dedicated to this aspect. "This focus indicates that datacenters and network infrastructures have surpassed their initial functionality and manageability roadblocks, with an emphasis now placed on enhancing efficiency," says Twaishi. "With increased application centricity among enterprises, the time taken to deploy business applications is becoming vital to bottom-line efficiency, and a priority is now being placed on rapid deployments and application delivery, both of which are facilitated by the implementation of SDN."

The ability of SDN to move network control from hardware to software enables networks to become more agile, dynamic, and intelligent, and IDC expects the emergence of SDN to change the way applications are built, managed, and delivered. This will ultimately enable the region's service providers to introduce new services, pricing schemes, and innovation drives. "SDN can reshape service providers' networks," says Twaishi. "Indeed, the evolution of telecommunications and IT technologies, together with increasing requirements for network agility and programmability, are expected to place virtualization and SDN at the center of service provider transformation."

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