The enterprise and data centerSDN market grew 192% in 2013 and is poised to reach $18 billion by 2018, according to Infonetics Research.

The firm's data tracks SDN controllers and Ethernet switches in-use as well as SDN-capable Ethernet switches. The "real" market for SDN - in-use SDN Ethernet switches and controllers -- will reach $9.5 billion in 2018, Infonetics predicts.

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In-use SDN Ethernet switch revenue, including branded Ethernet switches, virtual switches, and bare metal switches, grew more than 10-fold in 2013 from the prior year, driven by increases in white box bare metal switch deployments by large cloud service providers such as Google and Amazon, the firm notes. Bare metal switches are the top in-use SDN-capable switch in the data center, and are expected to account for 31% of total SDN-capable switch revenue by 2018.

Leaders in the SDN market will emerge during the next two years, as 2014 lab trials transition to live production deployments. Meanwhile, the adoption of SDN network virtualization overlays is expected to go mainstream by 2018, the firm states.