Network security and performance solution provider Juniper Networks (JNPR) revealed the findings of its latest study this week, which analyzed the overall readiness of U.S. companies to adopt software-defined networking (SDN) as a part of their businesses. After surveying 400 IT professionals across four separate industries, Juniper found there is a nearly 50/50 split for companies who plan on adopting SDN vs. those who do not.

While it’s easy to think SDN is all the rage within the channel, Juniper’s survey shows there are still a number of professionals who are unwilling to claim SDN as the irrefutable king of networking. When asked whether they believed their companies planned to adopt SDN, 52.5 percent of respondents answered yes, while the other 47.5 percent said they have no plans to implement SDN into their businesses. The survey was conducted in July and encompassed professionals from four different industries, including government, financial services, health care and education.

Of the respondents who said they do plan on adopting SDN, Juniper found that 74 percent said they plan to do so within the next year, while another 30 percent planned to make the big switch within the next month. When asked whether their company was physically ready to adopt SDN, a majority of respondents said yes, with 27 percent reporting they are completely or almost ready, and an additional 38 percent saying they were somewhat ready, according to the survey. Chiefly, high availability and resiliency are some of the most sought after results when adopting SDN, with improved analytics and reporting as well as automation and rapid provisioning also ranking high among potential adoptees.

Even though more than half of U.S. businesses seem optimistic about their futures with SDN, the technology is not without its inherent risks. When asked about perceived challenges related to adopting SDN, 50 percent of companies noted cost as the largest factor, while difficulty integrating new tech with existing systems and security concerns followed with 35 percent and 34 percent, respectively. Additionally, 28 percent of companies expressed concern about the lack of skills from their existing employees, which may be due to SDN’s recent introduction to the market.

While there is some general concern about taking risks with the new type of networking, companies are not blind to the potential rewards either. Among the potential opportunities that abound by integrating SDN into their companies, 26 percent of respondents said improved network performance and efficiency was the biggest perceived advantage, while 19 percent stated simplified network operations as another boon to SDN. An additional 13 percent cited cost savings on operations as another reason to delve into the SDN market.

It is much too soon to guess the definitive future of SDN within the IT industry, but a likely result in the next several years is a healthy mixture of traditional networking and SDN solutions, according to respondents. Juniper found more than three quarters of respondents believe most business networks will include some form of SDN technology within the next five years.

The VAR Guy recently conducted a survey on the future of software-defined networking which garnered similar results, with 30 percent of readers saying 2014 would definitely be the year of SDN, while another 18 percent said the likelihood of SDN dominating in 2014 was high. Meanwhile, the remaining 51 percent of respondents either did not believe in the power of software-defined networking or had no idea what the technology was.