The SDN market is likely to grow from USD 8.8 billion in 2018 to USD 28.9 billion by 2023, at a CAGR of 26.8% during the forecast period. The adoption rate of SDN is anticipated to grow owing to the growing demand for data centre services in businesses.

Technology Overview

SDN is a ground-breaking networking architecture, which is poised to entirely revolutionize the existing networking and data centre infrastructure. Along with the innovative idea of NFV, the control plane is decoupled from the data plane, with the provision for a separate controlling software layer and an application platform with the capabilities of policy making and providing network intelligence.

Top SDN and NFV Providers

  1. Cisco Systems
  2. Juniper Networks
  3. NEC Corporation
  4. IBM Corporation
  5. HPE
  6. Big Switch Networks
  7. Huawei Technologies
  8. Nuage Networks
  9. Nokia Corporation
  10. Intel corporation

SDN and NFV Solution Benefits

SDN and NFV make it possible for businesses to access network capacity on demand through a self-service portal. Also, routing and security policies can automatically acclimatize to address real-time bottleneck, security fears or network outages. Below are five business benefits enterprises can enjoy with SDN and NFV.

  1. Enhance business agility - The flexibility of SDN makes it simpler and quicker to roll out new ground-breaking services like real-time HD video conferencing and cloud applications.
  2. Enhance network visibility, performance and management control - SDN usually comes equipped with dashboards which allow businesses to view network-wide visibility, analytics and control information. A centralized controller determines the best route for each application traffic flow
  3. Improve security - The central SDN controller in the core network can view end-to-end traffic flows and developing intimidations. It can push international security policy updates out centrally to every site.
  4. Eliminate vendor lock-in - Open platforms are important in removing vendor lock-in and driving growth in SDN. This allows businesses to use multivendor solutions to gain advantage from healthy price competition and faster innovation.
  5. Reduce costs - SDN combines many compute, storage and processing functions into low cost commodity servers to minimize capital expenditure.


Vendor competitive leadership mapping provides information about the major vendors of digital transformation solutions and services and outlines the findings and analysis on how well each market vendor performs within our criteria. The vendor evaluations are based on two broad categories — Product Offering and Business Strategy. Each category carries various criteria, based on which the vendors will be evaluated.


Vendors who fall into this category receive high scores for most of the evaluation criterion. The vendors in this MicroQuadrant have a strong and established product portfolio and a very strong market presence. They provide mature and reputable traffic management system solutions and services that cater to a wide range of verticals globally. They also have strong business strategies.


They are established vendors with very strong business strategies. However, they are low in product portfolio. They generally focus on a specific type of technology related to the product. The vendors included in this MicroQuadrant have a good customer base and are providers of software and services catering to other technologies as well.


Innovators in the MicroQuadrant are vendors that have demonstrated substantial product innovations as compared to their competitors. They have very focused product portfolio. However, they do not have very strong growth strategies for their overall business.


They are vendors with niche product offerings, who are starting to gain recognition in the market. They do not have very strong business strategies as compared to other established vendors. They might be new entrants in the market and require some more time before getting significant traction. The SDN solution segment is gaining traction, as it is more functional to manage and control the network centrally; this segment offered by the SDN technology is highly useful for telecommunication providers, cloud service providers, and enterprises. SDN solutions have functionalities, such as network automation, network security, network orchestration, centralized monitoring, and virtualization. The SDN technology improves the speed of data transfer using real-time bandwidth allocation as well as visualization of the data, which helps in delivering applications, content, and new services at a high speed. This section describes the SDN market size by end-user, namely, telecommunication providers, cloud service providers, and enterprises. The enterprises segment is further segmented into organization size and verticals. CLOUD SERVICE PROVIDERS The cloud service providers increase the number of data centers globally to decrease the latency, which increases the demand for massive integrated network infrastructure. Therefore, the network becomes complex for delivering business applications and other content at high speed rates. Consequently, it becomes essential to have a centralized solution to enable programmable network controller that can effectively manage the entire network. Moreover, cloud service providers spend huge amounts on maintaining their network infrastructure to eliminate any potential bottlenecks in the networks, thus making it ideal for them to invest in SDN and NFV architectural framework. With the increasing adoption of SDN and NFV within these networks, it has been well accepted as a comprehensive solution, which not only leads to CAPEX reduction but also increases the speed of the networks with minimal addition of physical appliances. TELECOMMUNICATION SERVICE PROVIDERS The increasing adoption of SDN and NFV technologies by telecom service providers has boosted the overall network capacity potential, by delivering flexibility in bandwidth. SDN transforms the network to a more open and programmable framework by implementing a decoupled centralized control layer, which in turn enables implementation of NFV that optimizes network resources. This in turn reduces network congestions, enhances network user capacity (bandwidth requirement), and minimizes cost associated with hardware requirement for network user expansions. Moreover, telecommunication providers are constantly striving to offer new and innovative services to their customers at better data transfer rates across their entire network. To achieve their motive, telecommunication providers need to effectively manage the network, optimize the routers and switches for the peak hour traffic, and enable data center networking equipment to handle large volumes of data during the peak hours. Thereby, telecommunication providers are inclined toward adopting the SDN and NFV infrastructure. ENTERPRISES The subsequent segments are based on final end-users or enterprises, which have been further segmented based on their organization size and industry sectors. Modern enterprises need to be flexible and agile, in their business operations. This essentially requires a robust networking framework to ensure smooth 24x7 management, control, and support services. SDN and NFV technologies provide benefits, such as improving the network performance, optimizing network resource utilization, and providing a secure network infrastructure, which eventually saves on operating costs for enterprises.

SDN and NFV Market

Comparing 25 vendors in SDN and NFV Market across 75 criteria.
All vendors(25)

To cater to SDN and NFV, Cisco provides Cisco Wide Area Application Services (WAAS). Additionally, for cloud and systems management, the company offers Cisco Prime infrastructure, Cisco Prime network analysis module. In order to compete in the market, Cisco is continuously launching new products. For instance, in Feb 2016, the company launched NFV infrastructure solution, which would help service providers to enhance and automate NFV operation. This would provide faster services as well as reduce the total cost of ownership for the network. Furthermore, the company launched digital network architecture to enhance customer digital transformation.
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The company offers a wide range of products, solutions, and services namely, network management, network edge services, packet optical, and Software-Defined Networking. Network management comprises Junos Space Management Applications, Junos Space Network Management Platform, Junos Space SDK, and Cloud Analytics Engine. Furthermore, Software-Defined Networking product offering, comprises Contrail, NorthStar Controller, WANDL IP/MPLS view, NFX 250 Network Services Platform. The Juniper’s packet optical offering includes BTI7800 packet optical transport platforms, BTI7000 series packet optical transport platforms, and ProNX service manager.
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Product offerings of SDN and NFV product and solution portfolio comprises a wide range of products and solutions to cater to the market. Network-as-a-Service (NaaS) solution of NEC is aimed at providing benefits such as rapid service creation, installation, and monetization. Another SDN and NFV offering -Transport SDN solution is designed to meet multiple needs on demand by offering suitable network. Additionally, virtual core services solution is an open carrier grade virtualization platform that boosts performance and has features such as real-time processing and flexible scalability. NFV solution virtualized Evolved Packet Core (vEPC) is mobile core network. This solution brings SDN technology with the carrier grade virtualization platform.
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IBM product portfolio that caters to the SDN and NFV market consists of a wide range of products and solutions such as, cloud orchestrator, flex systems, IBM SDN virtual enterprise solution, virtual fabric, IBM programmable network controller, and cloud manager with the open stack. Application performance management solution is designed to focus on identifying and addressing software application issues. The solution helps in providing a quality experience to end-users.
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The company acquired Viptela Inc. which provides Software-Defined Wide Area Network (SD-WAN) services, that reduces cost, helps in easy network management and improves agility. With this acquisition, Cisco would be able to expand its product portfolio along with increased functionality distributed through the cloud. Apart from acquisitions, Cisco teamed up with Samsung, and formed a partnership with Verizon in order to provide interconnected Multi-vendor 5G trials for home broadband service.
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The company’s product offering includes Big Cloud Fabric, Big Monitoring Fabric, and OpenStack Networking Nirvana. The Big Cloud Fabric is a data center fabric, developed using SDN controller and open networking hardware switches. Using Big Cloud Fabric, the data center infrastructure can be automated, and the performance can be enhanced four times in terms of configuration and enhancement. Big Cloud Fabric enables seamless integration with OpenStack using Neutron plugin. Using Big Cloud Fabric, physical and virtual switching infrastructure of the data center can be managed.
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Huawei’s SDN and NFV market solution comprises SDN controller, cloud computing offering, router, and switches. Huawei’s agile SDN controller is the main component of SDN solution. This solution helps in rapidly providing benefits to changing requirements. Another offering in the SDN market is Huawei FusionSphere, which comprises carrier class server virtualization component, security, and network virtualization component along with distributed storage virtualization component. Huawei’s AR Series Agile Gateways, Net Engine Series Routers, AR G3 Series Routers, Multi-service Control Gateways provide features such as best IP routers and gateways for network services and communications.
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Nuage Networks is engaged in enriching the Cloud-based experience of the users. The technology used by the platform is scalable, and the SDN network is easily able to combine data centres with diverse and extensive network areas. Hence the demand of the users is seamlessly and instantly met. The main aim of the company is to allow IT and IP to work in conjunction so that businesses are empowered to deliver productive results.
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Pluribus Networks offers product offering which includes both products and solutions in SDN. The company offers Netvisor OS, a virtualized Network Operating System (NOS). Netvisor supports Open Compute Project/Open Network Install Environment (OCP/ONIE) switch.
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The pica8 product portfolio for the SDN and NFV market comprises Live IP Media, Enterprise SDN App Store, Ethernet Switching, Data Center Network, Network Overlays, DevOPs Automation, Edge Services, and Cloud Orchestration. The COTS SDN switches for LIVE IP media is helping in reducing the strain on the network along with improving network performance and reducing cost. Additionally, these switches offer throughput as well as non-blocking capabilities which is required in SDI-based router network to IP transition.
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Nokia Corporation is a telecommunication giant, engaged in offering IT, consumer electronics, and telecommunication services to the users. It has earned respect and name in the related field. It is one of the oldest companies in the field of network and telecommunications; no doubt in the fact that Nokia is a household name today owing to its carved solutions and technology that is unmatched and unparallel in the area. The company has touched human lives and transformed the way of connectivity across the globe. Simply put, all of the services offered by Nokia have changed the face of the IT market since time immemorial, and is continuing the same legacy through the extraordinary features listed below.
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The company has a wide range of product and services offering to cater to the SDN and NFV market such as data Center Switches, Carrier Ethernet Switches, Campus Network Switches, Storage Networking, Fiber Channel, and Routers. Data center switches offer features which are designed to meet demands of cloud multi-vendor and virtualized environments. Another offering in switches is carrier Ethernet switches; it integrates all network services under carrier Ethernet platform. It assists high bandwidth application as well as integrates SDN. Along with carrier Ethernet switches, campus network switches offer simplified management, low total cost of ownership, and flexible scalability.
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Ciena Corporation offers a broad range of products in the NFV and SDN market. The company offers products and services to monitor, optimize, manage, and control the network using SDN and NFV. The company’s NFV Orchestration enables more programmability in the network which reduces complexity.. NFV integrates the Operational Support System (OSS), SDN, and Virtual Infrastructure Manager (VIP) platform such as virtual WAN. The company also offers Multi-Domain Service Orchestration (MDSO), which is a modular and programmable architecture which is compatible with the cloud, multi-layer WAN, NFV, IP/MPLS, and many more.
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Intel offers Intel Open Network Platform (Intel ONP), Intel Data Center Manager, and Intel Virtual Gateway in the SDN and NFV market. Intel ONP is a server reference architecture which is an integration of hardware and open software. Intel ONP offers integrated solutions of NFV and SDN. The benefits of the solutions are that it enables SDN/NFV environment, drives market adoption, and also upgrades open source community work. Intel Data Center Manager offers real-time, accurate, and thermal monitoring insights, which are useful for controlling of data center usage and hotspots.
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Metaswitch is engaged in offering designs, manufactures, and developments to telecommunications software. They cater the software services to the communication segment, large companies, and equipment manufacturers. Their software solutions have been designed to achieve high-performance communications. The platform can empower the customer’s company to deliver high-quality operations. Voice, data, and unified communications services are required in mobile, fixed, and converged entities. Proper methodologies have been employed to offer agile development services. Moreover, their 5G Fusion Core, NOS Toolkit for Data, Perimeta SBC, Clearwater IMS Core for Voice and various other products for Unified Communications, Management, etc., make it a recognized leader in the development of ultra-high performance and cloud-native communications software.
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If you speak of SDN and NFV, then these are two types of complementary networking services that are offered by Affirmed Networks. These two types make use of a practical framework that is common among them.

These are services that are offered by Affirmed Networks and operate at the granular and micro level. Both types are considered to be functional presently. Even if organizations want to implement the two, still each type is independent of the other.

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Mellanox Technologies is a multi-national company engaged in supplying computer networking products. The company makes use of InfiniBand technology for the production of the products. They can provide the company with next-generation Cloud services to achieve the highest level of customer services. These days’ internet and Cloud technology are the trendiest and companies are acquiring the systems to store data in their various devices, and Mellanox makes the process much simpler and quicker. In a nutshell, Mellanox Technologies is a leading supplier of end-to-end Ethernet and intelligent interconnectivity services to numerous servers, storage, and converged infrastructure.
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Zetta Network is a company providing network facilities. They have designed customized solutions for the customers and have been in business since 1996. The systems developed by the company are ISO 9001 2015 and PCI-DSS compliant. They are engaged in delivering high-speed internet services, VoIP, SIP trunks, hosted PBX, and secured networks for businesses. They are committed to enhancing your digital journey with business intelligence and technology automation. The NetOS software from the company is a network controlling and software management platform that offers unparalleled advantages to the network business operations. It helps you with multi-vendor changes as well as management of configurations all on a real-time basis.
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