What Is a Software-Defined Network?

AvatarWritten by | NextGen Data Center

Today’s data centers need to be flexible and have the ability to change quickly to meet changing IT and business needs. A network is a critical element of the data center whether it is on-premises, cloud-based, or a hybrid of both. It provides the communication links to run IT applications and deliver services. One method many people are considering is a software-defined network — a new way to look at how networks are configured, controlled and operated.
TechTarget defines software-defined networking as an approach to computer networking that allows network administrators to manage network services through abstraction of higher-level functionality. According to Adam Catbagan, Arrow Manager of Technical Services, “Instead of the traditional limitations of complexity, inconsistent policies, and the inability to scale, IT organizations can look forward to improving their agility and self-service IT offerings with SDN. It provides the capability to control networks through software, making it automated and more efficient.”
IDC estimates the SDN market has grown from a $406 million industry in 2013 to more than a $6.6 billion market in 2017. Global Market Insights, Inc. says the SDN market will hit $88 billion by 2024.
A 2017 survey by Network World of 294 networking professionals found that 49% are either considering or actively piloting an SDN implementation while 18% have an SDN installed already.
Network World SDN Stats
SDN open technology leads to greater inter-operability, flexibility and cost-effective solutions. Intel recently evaluated their own software defined network and found that SDN helped them increase business value from the virtual machines in their data center and also offered the following benefits:

  • Reduced network-provisioning time
  • Simplified network creation process in a self-service environment
  • Reduced service costs through improved network management efficiency

You can read more about Intel’s SDN in their white paper, “Adopting Software-Defined Networking in the Enterprise.”
So what does this mean for Arrow partners? Well, it means that it’s time to be transitioning your company from a hardware approach to a services approach where you help end-users maximize their hardware investments. And, great news! Arrow can help you evolve to this new business model with our team of experienced engineers, a robust Integration Center and a top-notch Solutions Lab.
If you would like further information about how Arrow can help you learn more about software-defined resources, please contact your Arrow representative.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in November 2015 and has been updated for accuracy and

Last modified: May 3, 2019