Hype always comes before true progress in terms of technology. Just think in terms of cloud computing, wireless networking or, yes, even Ethernet. Vendors talked up the technology long before any serious adoption took place—sometimes for years. The same seems to be true of software-defined networking (SDN).

A recent study from QuinStreet Enterprise shows that SDN adoption has been slow and continues to be largely misunderstood by most enterprise companies. The "2014 Data Centre Outlook: Data Centre Transformation — Where Is Your Enterprise?" report shows that less than 30 percent of the 321 IT professionals surveyed have deployed or plan to deploy SDN in the next year. Add on another 40 percent that have no plans to implement SDN at all.

So basically, 70 percent of enterprises will not be deploying SDN for the foreseeable future—a statistic that must take the wind out of the sails for any vendor or VAR betting on the technology as the Next Big Thing.

Although 2014 may not be the year of SDN, perhaps 2015 will show better interest and uptake.

Earlier this year, Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) indicated it expects to see significant adoption of SDN by 2015. Replace "by" with "in," and then maybe there's something to consider. Next year will likely net some big and small wins for vendors and partners in the SDN space, but as with prior technologies that took some time to catch on, it does seem more likely that SDN will start to show more considerable growth and, hopefully, revenue the following year.

SDN revenue could very well begin to climb much more rapidly after 2015. In other words, after the education phase matures and organizations begin to understand how SDN is going to fit into their networks and provide business benefits. Just like with so many other previous technologies.