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Software-controlled networking: worldwide forecast 2017–2021

Dana Cooperson Research Director
Caroline Chappell Research Director
Gorkem Yigit Senior Analyst, Research

"CSP spending on NFV and SDN software, services and hardware will increase to USD13 billion (a CAGR of 59%) and USD5 billion (38%), respectively, in 2021, and spending on cloud computing, a more mature proposition, will reach USD15.5 billion (CAGR 16%)."

Communications service providers (CSPs) are well on their way to cloudifying their IT data centres and applications, but have only just begun to tap NFV/SDN technology to radically automate networks and network operations. This report analyses the drivers behind our USD33.5 billion forecast for the software-controlled networking (SCN) market in 2021, and the potential pitfalls that could jeopardise CSP execution strategies.


  • a detailed, 5-year worldwide forecast for spending in the SCN market, split into:
    • three market segments: NFV, SDN and cloud computing
    • three market sub-segments: hardware, software and professional services
    • eight geographical regions: Central and Eastern Europe (CEE); developed Asia–Pacific (DVAP), emerging Asia–Pacific (EMAP); Latin America (LATAM); the Middle East and North Africa (MENA); North America (NA); Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) and Western Europe (WE)
  • an examination of key market drivers and inhibitors, and how they will change during the forecast period
  • analysis of the business environment and regional dynamics that will influence the SCN market
  • a detailed market definition
  • recommendations for communications service providers (CSPs) and vendors.