Software-defined networking (SDN) could unlock more than $8bn in economic value for cloud service providers and enterprise customers within the next five years, according to research by IDC.
The analyst firm's study found the industry would grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 89.4% from $960m in 2014.
The research said much of the growth would be driven by the enterprise market during the period, even though many businesses are "still testing waters".
Brad Casemore, research director of IDC's Datacentre Networks, said: "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."
Coined back in 2005, the goal of SDN is to separate the control plane from the data forwarding plane of networking devices.
IDC pointed to web scaling, hybrid cloud deployments, network programmability and security applications as use cases for SDN.
Rohit Mehra, VP of Network Infrastructure at IDC, added: "SDN is taking center stage among innovative approaches to some of the networking challenges brought about by the rise of the 3rd Platform, particularly virtualisation and cloud computing.
"With SDN's growing traction in the datacenter for cloud deployments, enterprise IT is beginning to see the value in potentially extending SDN to the WAN and into the campus to meet the demand for more agile approaches to network architecture, provisioning, and operations."