Third platform to catalyze SDx adoption in 2016: Gaurav Sharma,IDC

CIOs should conduct a careful assessment of vendor's roadmaps, service capabilities, R&D budgets and ability to integrate with one's own existing investments for SDx, says Gaurav Sharma, IDC India.

SDx or Software Defined Anything is a technology or concept that is making its presence felt across enterprises’ IT infrastructure.
 
“But SDx is not for everyone at present. Customers with a static workload are expected to benefit less than others,” says Gaurav Sharma, Research Manager-Enterprise & IPDS, IDC India.
 
“Vendors for SDx should be chosen carefully as they themselves are evolving towards this approach and overhype/race to be the first (unless understood and assessed properly) should be avoided,” says Sharma at IDC India.
 
Which components of SDx are seeing more growth – SDS or SDN? And why?
 
SDS and SDN are both gaining traction in the market. SDN is creating more noise due to the traditional networks currently becoming the bottleneck because of lack of innovation over the last few years. It is therefore taking a center stage to solve some of the challenges posed by the 3rd platform and associated exponential rise of the data growth. Both are evolving and are undergoing constant changes from different vendors, in terms of product development as well as from an adoption perspective.
 
In the Indian context, few PoCs are happening for SDN while SDS is largely in the discussion stage for most of the organizations but both of them are getting attention from the (potential) customers in some shape and form and are expected to grow in the coming years.
 
How will SDx market grow by 2018 and what are the key factors to drive this growth?
 
SDN market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 89.4% for a period of 2013-18 basis an IDC study in 2014, to $8 Bn globally at the end of this period. This is comprised of physical network infrastructure, virtualization/control software, SDN applications (including network and security services) and professional services.
 
Factors to drive this growth:
 
Need for better operational efficiency
Need for flexibility and scalability in the infrastructure
Changing application workloads demanding architecture agnostic solutions
Maximizing value from virtualization investments
Increase in multi-tenant environments
Exponential increase in data forcing the carriers to innovate over traditional ways marking them obsolete
Geographically dispersed data sets (due to globalization) requiring new age architectures to respond to the needs of speed and agility
Need for easy control of costs and more effective opex based models
Need for improved security and productivity
Need for better utilization and availability of infrastructure
Do you see any roadblocks for Indian companies to go the ‘software defined’ route?
 
There are visible challenges and maybe roadblocks for India Inc. These are 
 
Lack of standardization of solutions
Lack of regulations/Framework (to balance control vs misuse)
Scarcity of in-house IT skills
Lack of understanding on path of migration
Cost of Migration
Constantly evolving technology at a pace than it can be consumed/ understood
Change in (decades old) service methodology / architecture mindset
Traditional procurement processes
What developments can we expect from Indian enterprises in SDx in 2016?
 
(Potential) Customers will look forward to an evolved and (somewhat) standardized set of solutions in 2016. However, SDx is a journey rather than a fortnightly implementation and hence IDC expects that with overtime, organizations of a certain size and needs would start moving towards composable infrastructure (in phases) that would in turn further push the need for SDx.
 
IDC also expects that services scenario is also set for a gradual change as architectures move toward SDx that would change the requirements for different OS and softwares. Implementation, consulting and Advisory services in India would gain pace towards the transition of skill sets from 2016 onwards.
 
By when will the enterprises’ datacenters becoming SDDC (Software defined data centers) as predicted by vendors like VMware, Cisco to name a few?
 
SDx would require careful assessment of one's needs and migration procedures. It is a journey and not a fortnightly implementation. There would be an opportunity for both open source and commercial solutions and for the start; it is expected to be a hybrid solution in most of the cases. SDx is constantly being seen as the natural evolution and next step to virtualized and automated (Data center) operations.
 
Vendor success would largely depend on its ability to seamlessly deploy, integrate and service its solution with the existing systems to start off with. An important success factor and catalyst towards any vendor's solution adoption would be the transition of its respective channel and how soon it can evolve towards a software centric view of solution and service delivery. Customer education and enablement would also be an important aspect towards the acceptability and adoption of SDx. 
 
How are enterprise users building a robust SDx posture? Any Dos and Donts for Indian CIOs?
 
First, SDx is not for everyone at present. Customers with a static workload are expected to benefit less than others. Hence it’s imperative that a careful assessment of one's needs, its roadmap and (if required) an associated migration strategy should be formulated. A services view of the infrastructure is necessary to successfully (start) migrate to SDx.
 
Vendors should be chosen carefully as they themselves are evolving towards this approach and overhype/race to be the first (unless understood and assessed properly) should be avoided. A careful assessment of vendor's roadmaps, service capabilities, R&D budgets and ability to integrate with one's own existing investments need to be taken into account. Thorough POCs and testing needs to be done before one can successfully migrate to any phase of SDx. This becomes more important in the light of skill scarcity and movement from decade old architectures to a completely new one. Lastly, investment in skills needs to be more as well as at a faster pace than SDx suddenly staring at one's doorstep.
 
Where the adoption curve lies for new age Software defined technologies in 2016?
 
As we move towards the second wave of 3rd platform adoption (consuming and reinvesting further to achieve its true form), SDx is expected to be the obvious choice for achieving this adoption. Composable infrastructure, new management (layer) solutions, programmatic management capabilities, service chaining, automation of processes, micro services, containers, industry moving towards standardization (due to both push from customers and pull from market to grow), focus on process and people management (rather than IT management) are some of the aspects that will witness acceptability and adoption in 2016 and beyond.
 
2016 can also be termed as the year of true adoption wherein these new age technologies will find more acceptability to serve as a building block to a truly connected future.
 
 
Yogesh Gupta is executive editor at IDG Media. You can reach him at yogesh_gupta@idgindia.com or follow him at @yogsyogi1