10 things to know that'll help you sell a SDN solution

There’s a proven customer interest in software-defined networking solutions but you need to be able to capitalise on this opportunity. Read on to discover 10 crucial pieces of information that will help you to sell SDN more successfully.

Software-defined networking (SDN) is an increasingly favourable area for your customers. Many of them will be coming to you with with questions around reduced infrastructure costs, streamlined operational efficiency, and faster deployments.

This offers partners plenty of opportunities to approach their customers and successfully sell SDN solutions, but there are a number of things you ought to know that will help to maximise this potential. From a growing interest from your customers, right through to emerging use cases such as cloud and big data, the time is ripe for you to start making sales.

1. SDN has a proven and growing customer interest.

IDC predicts a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 53.9% for the worldwide software-defined networking (SDN) market, reaching nearly $12.5 billion in 2020. While data centre switches will still account for most spending by 2020, the fastest growth will occur in software, the virtualisation and control layer, and SDN applications.

2. Low cost or free vendor training and certification tests are available to you.

SDN vendors are ready to help with training and certification programs that are not only affordable, but can be completed in as little as a day to a work week for post-sales training. This is a relatively low cost way to bring your staff up to speed, and find which are most open to this new way of selling and delivering value.

3. Data protection requirements demand very granular and specific protection of data.

Mandates such as the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), with fines of up to €20 million or 4% of gross sales in case of data breaches cry out for the fine-grained, cost-effective control of corporate resources provided by SDN.

4. Serious security breaches are ongoing and increasing, you need to protect customers.

The reality of today’s security threats – and the havoc they can wreak on organisations – is real enough to prompt a conversation about how SDN’s microsegmentation can limit the damage if a hacker penetrates an organisation’s “crunchy exterior”. UK businesses could face up to £122 billion in penalties for data breaches when new EU legislation comes into effect in 2018.

5. Server virtualisation is becoming increasingly popular.

The widespread adoption of server virtualisation has provided overwhelming proof of the value of abstracting physical servers from the underlying hardware. Server virtualisation, however, created new bottlenecks when it comes to provisioning new networks and firewalls to secure applications. SDN eases those logjams, bringing your customers closer to a true software-defined data centre.

6. SDN leads to reduced operational expenses for your customers.

Research studies have shown that SDN delivers as much as an 80% reduction in network operational expense and up to 72% reduction in the labour required to change network configurations. For example, SDN allows network changes to be made centrally with the click of the mouse rather than on each switch.

7. You can reduce your customer’s capital expenses.

Some customers see an 80% reduction in the number of switches required in their networks. SDN also allows customers to use less expensive commodity switches without sacrificing highly granular control over network traffic, while improving compliance with service-level agreements.

8. Emerging use cases such as big data, cloud computing, video, mobile technology, and the internet of things (IoT) make SDN a solution of choice.

As your customers deploy new applications in each of these booming areas, their demand for scalable, cost-effective and secure network capacity will grow. SDN’s ability to deploy new network services more quickly and easily makes it an excellent – even essential – tool to meet those needs.

9. There is potential for SDN growth in industries such as government, healthcare, and education and in smaller organisations.

It’s crucial to nurture relationships with customers in these industries, SDN is an excellent opportunity to provide them with greater agility and security, and cost-savings. While large enterprises are already deploying SDN in the data centre, Rohit Mehra, Vice President, Network Infrastructure at IDC, predicts they will eventually “also recognise its applicability across the WAN to branch offices and to the campus network," creating more sales opportunities.

10. The need to manage complex, multi-vendor hybrid cloud environments is increasing.

To quickly deploy highly scalable new applications, organisations are turning to an ever-wider variety of cloud, on premise and hybrid cloud technologies. A software-defined network with the ability to orchestrate multiple environments can simplify infrastructure management and operations, increase the flexibility to support new applications and integrate best of breed services from multiple vendors.

By arming yourself with the right knowledge, you can spark your customer’s interest, compel them to consider software-defined networking for their business and start opening up additional revenue streams within your own business.

Software-defined networking is much more than another solution to sell, it’s a way to embed digital transformation into your customer’s business, keep them working securely and maintain their business continuity.


  • Your customers already have a proven interest in software-defined networking. partners can exploit this opportunity by approaching sales with the right information.
  • Security is, and will continue to be, an area of increasing concern for your customers. Breaches are becoming more common, threats are becoming bigger and the fines they face if they’re end-users data isn’t protected could be detrimental.
  • Your customers need to survive in the digital world. This means moving data, scaling data and creating multiple machines in the face of big data, cloud and the internet of things.
  • SDN is an essential step when it comes to virtualising your customer’s data centres. Having the right information to hand will help you to sell more easily.

The Trusted Advisor Blueprint: A definitive guide to software defined networking