Software-defined networking is more than just a clunky buzzword. It's an evolving line of technology poised to be worth $8 billion within the next five years, according to IDC's latest estimates.
The market intelligence firm published a forecast for datacenter networking on Wednesday afternoon, predicting software-defined networking will grow from a market worth roughly $960 million in 2014 to more than $8 billion by 2018.
That translates to a compound annual growth rate of 89.4 percent.
Acknowledging that many businesses are still just dabbling with SDN for use cases from private cloud deployments to web scaling, IDC analysts expect adoption to pick up rapidly sooner rather than later.
"The 2014 through 2016 period will be a significant launch point for SDN in the enterprise, with significant growth opportunities for both enterprise-focused SDN infrastructure and cloud service providers," wrote Brad Casemore, an IDC research director covering datacenter networks, in the report.
Nevertheless, software-defined networking still has a bit of an image and branding problem to work out -- not to mention establishing a concise definition.
Aimed at cloud service providers and related enterprise customers, IDC defined the software-defined networking market to consist of in-use physical network infrastructure, controller and network-virtualization software, SDN network and security services and related applications, and SDN-related professional services.
Whatever you want to call it, software-defined networking is likely to keep churning buzz and take center stage next week at VMware's annual summit, VMworld, in San Francisco.