Networking’s Software Era
“A mind that is stretched to a new experience can never go back to its old dimensions.”
– Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.
There has been a flurry of news out of Vyatta, and a lot more is coming. Here’s a quick post to put it all in context; there’s a common theme in it all, and it’s been quite shocking to the industry at large.
To start, consider 20 years of networking status quo. After decades of doing things one way, the argument we heard was “things will never change.”
Now look at the summary of news over just the past two months: The world’s dominant chip vendor is promoting an awesome benchmark using Vyatta, large networking vendors are partnering with us, a huge telecom is preparing a massive Vyatta rollout, Gartner Group calls out the huge strategic advantages for those who embrace virtualized networking, and clouds are adopting Vyatta virtualized.
Meta-summary: The era of software-based networking is here.
Here’s how this is changing the landscape, and what you will keep seeing:
1. Edge Consolidation
Vendors who have carved out best-of-breed positions for a specific type of network workload will integrate Vyatta into their offering. Start saying goodbye to single-function devices.
2. Managed Services
SaaS / PaaS type of models get a new type of network-based enablement. Networking inherits the dynamicism and economics that computing enjoys.
3. Networking as Utility
Clouds will deliver highly granular, utilization-based pricing for networking and security. Utility models are no longer limited to compute and storage.
4. Datacenter Efficiency
Power, space and cooling improve as networking gets drawn into server farms. Server utilization is boosted as physical network limitations disappear.
Software-based networking enables all of the above via two fundamental advantages. First, it’s adaptable; no other method gives you hardware independence and architectural freedom. Old proprietary boxes are boat anchors by comparison. And second, it allows for innovative pricing models to fit the new economic requirements of services-based IT strategies like cloud. In the new world IT costs need to be synchronized with the revenue it creates; but how can any form of metered pricing actually work if the upfront costs are ridiculously high, which is what the old way requires? Simply, it can’t.
So keep watching Vyatta. You’ll see all of the above come out into the sunlight as our customers and partners leverage the era of software-based networking.
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