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April 23, 2021

Software Defined Everything: Macroeconomic Trends

By GlobalData Thematic Research

Software defined everything technology helps enterprises drive aggressive cost savings and improve the efficiency and flexibility of their networks and data centres. This is reflected in the growing number of companies embracing the technology.

Macroeconomic Trends

Listed below are the key macroeconomic trends impacting the software defined everything (SDE) theme, as identified by GlobalData.

Software skills

With SDN (software defined networking), network science and computer science have become more closely linked than they had been before. Therefore, SDN architecture requires new skills. Network administrators increasingly need to have advanced know-how in both network and computer science. This requires experience with Unix and Linux OS scripting, developing application program interface (APIs), and using general-purpose programming languages (i.e., Python, Node.js).

Major SDN vendors offer programming certification and education programmes. Cisco, for example, has training programmes related to network programmability, network automation, and working with SDN controller software.

Trade wars

One of the most disruptive and hardest to predict features of the global technology market is the role that international trade policies will play in influencing the development of the data centre market. The most pressing concern is the relationship between the US and China.

Under the present US administration, the trade relationship with China is volatile, with the US attempting to balance the need to meet popular demand for protectionism with the fact that its economy depends on Chinese manufacturers supporting its technology industry. The most affected company is Huawei, the leading Chinese mobile infrastructure equipment maker. It has been put on the blacklist that bans US companies from working with it.

There are allegations that Huawei’s products purposely contain security holes that China’s government could use for unauthorised surveillance purposes. As 5G networks are software defined, this has raised concerns about the potential for remote access. Several other countries such as the UK, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, and Taiwan have also imposed bans on Huawei’s infrastructure.

Meanwhile, China’s leadership has made clear its ambition to wrest leadership of the technology industry from the US and bring it to the East. It has imposed tariffs on foreign companies, which have directly and indirectly impacted the data centre players in the west. Juniper, for example, had to move some manufacturing units out of China.

The country has also started adding US companies like Qualcomm, Cisco, and Apple into the unreliable entity list and is imposing business restrictions. It also brings a risk element to the Taiwanese server original design manufacturers (ODMs), whose production plants are mainly based in China.

This is an edited extract from the Software Defined Everything – Thematic Research report produced by GlobalData Thematic Research.