​VMware, Cisco and Microsoft go-to vendors as software-defined enterprise spend rises

“As every business becomes a digital business, decision-makers are looking to improve both the efficiency and effectiveness of their overall IT environment."

VMware, Cisco and Microsoft top the list of customers’ go-to vendors for software-defined infrastructure (SDI) capabilities, as digitally aware businesses open the enterprise cheque books.

Data from 451 Research’s latest Voice of the Enterprise survey indicates that 67 percent of enterprises will increase spending on SDI in 2016, resulting in a 14.4 percent increase in overall spend.

SDI involves the virtualisation of all hardware resources, combined with elastic scaling and management automation - realised via the implementation of multiple technologies and products.

Though server virtualisation has been and remains the customary starting point for most enterprises, additional software-defined approaches have emerged in recent years, including software-defined networking (SDN) and software-defined storage (SDS).

In addition, the majority of respondents to the study (65 percent) cited improved agility and flexibility as the top benefit of SDI.

“As every business becomes a digital business, decision-makers are looking to improve both the efficiency and effectiveness of their overall IT environment; this is encouraging decision-makers to explore new IT delivery models,” says Simon Robinson, Vice President of Research, 451 Research.

Robinson says “considerably more” respondents in the Q4 2015 survey projected spending increases for infrastructure software technologies associated with SDI than those projecting decreases.

According to findings, about 37.4 percent and 26.9 percent of enterprises are increasing spending on Software-defined networking (SDN) and software-defined storage (SDS) respectively, versus less than three percent planning to curb budget allocations for these two technologies.

In terms of vendors, Robinson says VMware (66.3 percent), followed by Cisco (39.2 percent) and Microsoft (28.1 percent) standout as lead vendors in SDI.

However, just 21 percent of organisations have implemented SDI in their environments today, and there are hurdles to broader adoption.

For senior management, low maturity is a top barrier to SDI adoption while for non-senior management, lack of internal skills tops the list.

“To achieve successful implementation, decision-makers should first conduct an audit of their internal skills and look to fill any gaps,” adds Nikolay Yamakawa, Senior Analyst, 451 Research.

“Meanwhile, vendors should aim to play a more proactive role in communicating requirements and presenting case studies to help overcome these barriers.”

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