Almost two-thirds (64 percent) of enterprises in 14 markets across the Asia Pacific region are at some stage of deployment of virtualized network functions, from initial planning to final integration and testing, according to a Ciena® (NYSE:CIEN)-commissioned Asia/Pacific WAN and Communications Survey conducted by International Data Corporation (IDC), a leading provider of global IT research and advice. Additionally, roughly 30 percent of organizations are implementing or running software-defined networking (SDN) functionality to improve network agility, speed and programmability. The survey found this adoption rate was driven by rapid economic growth and business expansion, an increasingly mobile workforce, and the Internet of Things (IoT). 

The Ciena-commissioned Asia/Pacific WAN and Communications Survey illustrates the investment plans and views of enterprises around SDN and network function virtualization (NFV), and their readiness to work with a service provider to implement these technologies. These two complementary technologies are seen as effective techniques to reduce network and operational costs, while enabling new business models and service innovation. The survey also explored the motivations of CIOs and IT decision makers in adopting these technologies. 

Key Findings – NFV:

  • At an aggregate level, 64 percent of Asia-Pacific businesses are at some stage of the NFV deployment process, from early planning to final staging and testing with their selected service provider. 
  • Malaysia, Korea and Thailand were the most advanced markets in NFV deployment, according to the survey. In these markets, 93 percent, 91 percent and 90 percent of enterprises, respectively, were either in the early stages of planning and analysis, or in the more advanced stages of strategy, technology evaluation, lab evaluations, demos, trials, proofs of concept, integration or testing phases. The survey also found that businesses in markets such as the Philippines, Japan, Singapore and Indonesia will drive the second wave of NFV deployment in the region. 
  • More than 65 percent of respondents said they would consider virtualizing their firewall function in 2016. Enterprises revealed that they were also looking to virtualize network functions such as load balancing, security, routing and switching, WAN controllers and optimization. This across-the-board demand offers service providers the opportunity to provide enterprises a broad range of value-added network services. 
  • Almost 15 percent of Asian enterprises in most markets, including Hong Kong and India, said they were looking to their service provider to help improve security vulnerabilities in the network through virtualization. With the rise of the mobile worker and workloads moving to the cloud, security has to change with the times. Businesses are moving to a security strategy that can provide forewarning, better threat detection and incident response, and they are ready to adopt NFV for its carrier-class security features.
  • More than 80 percent of respondents felt that NFV implementation would make network management easier. With networks in the region growing both in terms of scale and complexity, Ciena believes that ease of network management through automated processes and provisioning is key to maintaining network agility and flexibility. 

Key Findings – SDN:

  • Interest in SDN is growing steadily year-on-year – about half of Asian enterprises are aware of it, thinking about it or likely to implement. More than one in five are now making sure future investments will be SDN-ready. Among respondents who knew about SDN or understood its benefits, almost 60 percent said they were ensuring that new network investments were SDN-ready, or were in the process of testing or running SDN solutions.
  • Across the region, centralized management and control of the network was the top driver for considering or implementing SDN, along with improved agility of service provisioning and chaining. In Japan, holistic and centralized network control was the top driver for SDN investment, while lower hardware cost was the top consideration for Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong and India.
  • SDN deployment was slightly less prevalent in India, China, Taiwan and Vietnam. Across the region, the primary inhibitors were a lack of internal skill sets and uncertainty about industry standards, migration and costs. There is a need for service providers to address these issues and perform an educational role as they seek to increase the base of customers using SDN solutions.
  • Half of the Asia-Pacific markets surveyed said that when considering or implementing SDN their priority is to increase network visibility and flexibility and to lower hardware costs. Another motivation is to include automation to replace manual configurations and eliminate human error. Self-configuring networks are agile enough to effectively provision different traffic classes and diverse workloads. 

Executive Comments:

  • “Two-thirds of Asia-Pacific businesses are already engaged in deploying NFV: this dispels misconceptions from the vendor and service provider community that the market is not ready. Truth be told, demand is ahead of many vendors’ readiness to sell these solutions. The benefits of virtualization, combined with this tremendous appetite for it, will give service providers who deploy NFV and SDN-based services a clear competitive advantage in 2016.”
    - Karl Horne, CTO, Asia Pacific, Ciena
  • “Asia as a whole is making rapid strides in the adoption and advancement of NFV and SDN. Enterprises have seen the value in agile, programmable and highly scalable network infrastructures that are enabled by NFV and SDN.”
    - Shiv Putcha, Associate Director, Service Provider & Connected Consumer Research, IDC Asia-Pacific 

About the Survey:

  • The Asia/Pacific WAN and Communications Survey was commissioned by Ciena and surveyed 1,400 senior IT decision makers from large enterprises in 14 markets in the Asia Pacific region: Australia, China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, the Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam.
  • Ten percent of the companies surveyed have more than 1,000 employees and 30 percent between 250 and 1,000.
  • The survey was conducted by IDC in October 2015.

Supporting Resources:

IDC Executive Insights: Transitioning Toward a Software-Defined Industry

About Ciena
Ciena (NYSE: CIEN) is the network specialist. We collaborate with customers worldwide to unlock the strategic potential of their networks and fundamentally change the way they perform and compete. Ciena leverages its deep expertise in packet and optical networking and distributed software automation to deliver solutions in alignment with its OPn architecture for next-generation networks. We enable a high-scale, programmable infrastructure that can be controlled and adapted by network-level applications, and provide open interfaces to coordinate computing, storage and network resources in a unified, virtualized environment. For updates on Ciena news, follow us on Twitter @Ciena or LinkedIn. Investors are encouraged to review the Investors section of our website at, where we routinely post press releases, SEC filings, recent news, financial results, and other announcements. From time to time we exclusively post material information to this website along with other disclosure channels that we use.

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