A specifications group within the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) since 2012 has released a number of papers about NFV, including definitions and use cases. Kelly Herrell, vice president of software at Brocade and former CEO of Vyatta—and SDN and NFV vendor Brocade bought in 2012—said in a recent interview with eWEEK that service providers and carriers are actively investigating and testing NFV concepts, though they are still waiting for SDN to become better defined.
"[NFV] is far more mature" than SDN, Herrell said. "It's modular and much more easy to consume."
Analysts are expecting big things out of SDN. Transparency Market Research has said the SDN market could hit $3.52 billion by 2018. Infonetics researchers late last year said it expects the SDN market to hit $3.1 billion by 2017, and that by that year, 10 percent of all Ethernet switches will be used in SDN environments.
According to Infonetics' numbers released May 28, the worldwide carrier switch and router market—which includes IP edge and core routers and carrier Ethernet switches—grew 2 percent in the first quarter over the same period last year, to $3.2 billion. Cisco Systems remained the top vendor, followed by Juniper Networks, Alcatel-Lucent and Huawei Technologies. The analysts said they expect the edge router market to grow 4.3 percent over the next five years, while the core router business will increase 2.9 percent and carrier Ethernet switches 0.7 percent.
While analysts are expecting SDN to become a formidable market, researchers also are noting that SDN is still in its early stages. In a survey released late last year, QuinStreet Enterprise—publisher of eWEEK—found that while SDN is still getting a lot of attention from vendors and the media, it remains an emerging technology that will take some time before gaining widespread adoption in data centers. The survey, "2014 Data Center Outlook: Data Center Transformation—Where Is Your Enterprise?" found that while SDN is a point of conversation in many organizations, they're holding off on adopting it right now.