A majority of enterprises, 67 percent in fact, plan to increase their software-defined infrastructure (SDI) spending in 2016, according to a new survey from 451 Research.
The analyst firm polled 900 IT professionals, and found that overall spending on SDI technologies, including server virtualization, software-defined networking (SDN) and software-defined storage (SDS), will rise by 14.4 percent. Looking for an escape from rigid IT systems and processes, most respondents (65 percent) said the biggest benefits of SDI are improved agility and flexibility.
"In general, the main benefit that respondents draw from Software-defined approaches overall is improved agility in their IT environments; the ability to roll out new services and applications more quickly, and respond much faster to changing business requirements," Simon Robinson, research vice president of 451 Research, told Datamation.
IT executives and managers are also looking to seeking management and cost efficiencies. "The second most frequently cited benefit was reduction in management and overhead costs, achieved via improved levels of automation and standardization," Robinson added. "In short, SDI approaches promise to deliver IT managers with some of the benefits of cloud-based IT, without actually having to move their IT to an external provider."
Despite these benefits, SDI is the exception, not the rule, at most data centers.
As it currently stands, 21 percent of enterprises have deployed SDI technologies within their environments. "There is still a long way to go if SDI approaches are ever to become ubiquitous, though the good news is that the main barriers to SDI adoption – lack of product maturity, and lack of the required skills – can both be overcome given time and the required investments from the industry," Robinson said.
451 Research recommends that businesses conduct an internal skills audit and work toward filling any gaps. Vendors, on the other hand, could do a better job of communicating SDI requirements and offer case studies on successful implementations.
In terms of increased SDI spending, 37.4 percent said they were funneling their investments into software-defined networking. Spending devoted to software-defined storage is rising for 26.9 percent of those polled this year. Less than 3 percent said they were trimming their SDN and SDS budgets.
Unsurprisingly, leading virtualization specialist VMware (66.3 percent) is the favored SDI vendor. Networking giant Cisco (39.2 percent) also ranks high among IT buyers, as does Redmond, Wash. software and cloud provider Microsoft (28.1 percent).
Pedro Hernandez is a contributing editor at Datamation. Follow him on Twitter @ecoINSITE.
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