Dollar SignsResearch from Viavi Solutions has indicated SDN technologies are on the rise within enterprise organizations, but there also might be a number of organizations who are implementing the cloud for the wrong reasons.

In its ninth annual State of the Network study, the team highlighted enterprise organizations are increasing deployment of 100 Gigabit Ethernet (100 GbE), public and private cloud, and software-defined networking technologies. Two thirds of respondents indicated they had some kind of deployment in the production environment, and 35% have implemented SDN underlay.

“There is a growing trend of enterprise customers realizing how they can improve the operations of their network,” said Steve Brown, Director of Enterprise Solutions at Viavi. “It’s been a slow burner, but SDN is beginning to break through into the mainstream. While encouraging, the statistics are a little higher than we expected. After comparing the adoption rates from the last couple of years, we expected SDN to be around 50%, but the survey does highlight some real momentum in the industry on the whole.”

The findings also highlighted that while cloud adoption is continuing to rise, 90% have at least one application in the cloud and 28% said they have the majority, there is still a level of immaturity in understanding the perceived and realized benefits of cloud computing. Lower operating costs was listed as the top reason for the transition at 63%, while the faster delivery of new services and the ability to dynamically adapt to changes in business demands were the least popular reasons, both accounting for 39%.

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“If you look at what the chief benefits which people are seeing, we’re seeing a lot of feedback on the CAPEX/OPEX reductions,” said Brown. “This is great, but that’s not really what the point of cloud is. Expenditure reduction is something which the top decision makers in the business want to see, it’s more of a tactical play. If this is the end objective these companies are not really seeing the promise of cloud and what makes me excited about cloud.

Deploying cloud

Top reasons for adopting the cloud

“The areas which I see the key benefits are the ones which are lowest on the results, delivering services faster and dynamically changing to meet the needs of the business. I found it quite surprising that these were quite low. The results show that the decision to enter the cloud for the majority of consumers is more tactical than a strategic decision.”

One conclusion that can be drawn from the findings is a lack of understanding of what the cloud can offer. Gartner’s ‘Cost Optimization Secrets’ highlighted the average cost reduction for companies implementing cloud propositions was just over 14%. While this is encouraging, whether cloud adoption would remain an attractive option for organizations if they knew expenditure would be reduced by just 14% remains to be seen.

“There’s more than just cost saving when adopting the cloud,” said Brown. “Are there savings, absolutely, but the majority don’t come upfront. If you’re going to be running applications which could see aggressive spikes, the flexibility of and agility of the cloud will reduce the cost. But at the same time it’s difficult to justify the cost savings because you may be taking on new projects due to the fact you have the ability to scale your capacity at a moment’s notice.

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“Rather than thinking about it as a cost saver, hybrid cloud should be seen as an initiative enabler. Until this idea is recognised by the industry, adoption may continue to struggle to penetrate the mainstream.”

For Brown and the team at Viavi, the benefits of cloud computing are focused around the business capabilities which are enabled in the medium and long-term. Cloud offers companies the opportunity to react to diversifying market conditions faster and ensure products remain relevant on an on-going basis.

“In my own personal opinion, I would like to see people embrace a hybrid cloud model because it enables them to develop competitive edges,” said Brown. “This also justifies future investment in technology, it moves these new concepts and implementations from ‘nice to have’ to ‘must have’ as technology will then be one of the supporting pillars of the business strategy. Cloud has the ability to do this and to be a competitive enabler.”

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