Welcome!

Apache Authors: Pat Romanski, Liz McMillan, Elizabeth White, Christopher Harrold, Janakiram MSV

Blog Feed Post

What is it that drives an industry towards DIY?

For some, it is a predetermined conclusion that white box switching is the future. They envision a world of commodity switches and independently distributed software. Some IT shops will manage their own Linux distributions. Others will use commercial offerings, leveraging a support model that comes with it. Regardless of whether this describes your particular future, we ought to take a moment and ask ourselves how we got here.

The prevailing thought is that the reason white box switching if a fait accompli is that the economics just make sense. Why pay for sophisticated hardware when most of the magic is in the software? Why incur addition expense for a handful of esoteric features that you could probably design around anyway?

There are a couple of issues with this rationale. First, while switch and router pricing certainly skews towards hardware, vendor R&D budgets are heavily biased towards software. The hardware has such high margins largely because virtually all of the pricing is aimed that way. For the large vendors, somewhere north of 80% of their R&D spend is geared for software.

But the bigger issue in my mind is if this is all a CapEx avoidance game, why is it taking off now? Prices have been high for years. Sure, capacity is growing exponentially, so adding bandwidth every year gets harder and harder. But have we hit some tipping point suddenly on the capacity side? Meanwhile, switch pricing has come down steadily over the years, driven partly by merchant silicon and mostly by competition. There is no greater enemy of lofty product margins than healthy competition. Arista’s continued share gains are enough to bring pricing down for everyone, and the fact that SDN has brought a bunch of new companies into the fray can only help keep things moving in the right direction.

And even if white box switching was primarily a CapEx thing, only those companies that deploy switches en masse would stand to save any sizable investment. Saving several thousand dollars is great. Multiplied over hundreds or thousands of switches, the difference is meaningful. Spread over a half dozen switches though? Savings is always good, but I don’t see the compelling event there.

None of this is to say that white box switching is not good. Rather I am suggesting that it’s rise is rooted in something other than profit margins and CapEx budgets.

When an industry steps up and says that they would rather build and maintain their own products than buy prefabricated stuff, it is more than just firing a shot across the margin bow. It’s an organic response to solutions that have collectively fallen short. It’s an indictment not of a single company but of an entire industry. It signals to all of us just how far short the networking industry is falling.

The question vendors need to ask is where have they been falling short?

Based on industry chatter, it is tempting to think that it’s all about price. It is not surprising to see a rash of moves all designed to lower the price per port. A bigger box here, a collapsed box there… drop the price. A partnership here, merchant silicon there… drop the price. But while price is important, it is really just the manifestation of years of growing discontent. The issue isn’t price, but margins have become symbolic of how the industry has under delivered. Price must fall.

But as it falls, more has to be done. Obviously SDN, NFV, network virtualization, and DevOps all aim to drive long-term OpEx down through workflow automation and workload delegation. Software is the lynchpin for all of these efforts, and so the DIY movement is correctly focused there. The question is not whether software is the future, but really whether the software component vendors can out-OpEx the more established vendors. To be fair, the likes of Cumulus don’t actually have to completely outperform their legacy counterparts; because of the growing tide of discontent, they just need to reach some level of parity. This should be frightening for some folks.

So what are the implications?

For people who have been caught up in all the CapEx talk, things could get ugly. Incorrectly diagnosing the problems means that roadmaps will not intersect the correct long-term opportunities. CapEx is a giant red herring, and companies that rotate their entire strategy around CapEx will find themselves ill-prepared for a software future that revolves more around OpEx in a highly-automated, more fully-integrated IT universe.

And if the end game is not only lower price (certainly, some of it is price – I don’t mean to discount that argument entirely) but also integration and orchestration, then there will be avenues to compete. But the features here are different than they have been for decades. Companies tooled for performance improvements and BGP knobs will find that their engineering resources do not match their customers’ long-term goals.

Worse yet, every customer win from one of those BGP features simply provides temporary comfort. It extends the life of the existing network by some small amount of time, which allows the customer to line up the pieces necessary to make their own transition. When that transition time comes, will the customer wait for the vendor to catch up? Not a chance. The environment that has led to the DIY movement is particularly unforgiving, especially for the vendors that have been complicit in its rise.

Whatever the outcome, I think we all ought to be somewhat aware of not only where we are but why we are here. White box or not, it’s instructive about how to compete going forward.

[Today's fun fact: The plastic things on the end of shoelaces are called aglets. I wonder why Texas A&M named their mascot after shoelaces?]

The post What is it that drives an industry towards DIY? appeared first on Plexxi.

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By Michael Bushong

The best marketing efforts leverage deep technology understanding with a highly-approachable means of communicating. Plexxi's Vice President of Marketing Michael Bushong has acquired these skills having spent 12 years at Juniper Networks where he led product management, product strategy and product marketing organizations for Juniper's flagship operating system, Junos. Michael spent the last several years at Juniper leading their SDN efforts across both service provider and enterprise markets. Prior to Juniper, Michael spent time at database supplier Sybase, and ASIC design tool companies Synopsis and Magma Design Automation. Michael's undergraduate work at the University of California Berkeley in advanced fluid mechanics and heat transfer lend new meaning to the marketing phrase "This isn't rocket science."

@ThingsExpo Stories
DX World EXPO, LLC, a Lighthouse Point, Florida-based startup trade show producer and the creator of "DXWorldEXPO® - Digital Transformation Conference & Expo" has announced its executive management team. The team is headed by Levent Selamoglu, who has been named CEO. "Now is the time for a truly global DX event, to bring together the leading minds from the technology world in a conversation about Digital Transformation," he said in making the announcement.
"Space Monkey by Vivent Smart Home is a product that is a distributed cloud-based edge storage network. Vivent Smart Home, our parent company, is a smart home provider that places a lot of hard drives across homes in North America," explained JT Olds, Director of Engineering, and Brandon Crowfeather, Product Manager, at Vivint Smart Home, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Conference Guru has been named “Media Sponsor” of the 22nd International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York, NY. A valuable conference experience generates new contacts, sales leads, potential strategic partners and potential investors; helps gather competitive intelligence and even provides inspiration for new products and services. Conference Guru works with conference organizers to pass great deals to gre...
The Internet of Things will challenge the status quo of how IT and development organizations operate. Or will it? Certainly the fog layer of IoT requires special insights about data ontology, security and transactional integrity. But the developmental challenges are the same: People, Process and Platform. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Craig Sproule, CEO of Metavine, demonstrated how to move beyond today's coding paradigm and shared the must-have mindsets for removing complexity from the develop...
In his Opening Keynote at 21st Cloud Expo, John Considine, General Manager of IBM Cloud Infrastructure, led attendees through the exciting evolution of the cloud. He looked at this major disruption from the perspective of technology, business models, and what this means for enterprises of all sizes. John Considine is General Manager of Cloud Infrastructure Services at IBM. In that role he is responsible for leading IBM’s public cloud infrastructure including strategy, development, and offering m...
"Evatronix provides design services to companies that need to integrate the IoT technology in their products but they don't necessarily have the expertise, knowledge and design team to do so," explained Adam Morawiec, VP of Business Development at Evatronix, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
To get the most out of their data, successful companies are not focusing on queries and data lakes, they are actively integrating analytics into their operations with a data-first application development approach. Real-time adjustments to improve revenues, reduce costs, or mitigate risk rely on applications that minimize latency on a variety of data sources. In his session at @BigDataExpo, Jack Norris, Senior Vice President, Data and Applications at MapR Technologies, reviewed best practices to ...
Widespread fragmentation is stalling the growth of the IIoT and making it difficult for partners to work together. The number of software platforms, apps, hardware and connectivity standards is creating paralysis among businesses that are afraid of being locked into a solution. EdgeX Foundry is unifying the community around a common IoT edge framework and an ecosystem of interoperable components.
Large industrial manufacturing organizations are adopting the agile principles of cloud software companies. The industrial manufacturing development process has not scaled over time. Now that design CAD teams are geographically distributed, centralizing their work is key. With large multi-gigabyte projects, outdated tools have stifled industrial team agility, time-to-market milestones, and impacted P&L stakeholders.
"Akvelon is a software development company and we also provide consultancy services to folks who are looking to scale or accelerate their engineering roadmaps," explained Jeremiah Mothersell, Marketing Manager at Akvelon, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
"IBM is really all in on blockchain. We take a look at sort of the history of blockchain ledger technologies. It started out with bitcoin, Ethereum, and IBM evaluated these particular blockchain technologies and found they were anonymous and permissionless and that many companies were looking for permissioned blockchain," stated René Bostic, Technical VP of the IBM Cloud Unit in North America, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Conventi...
In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Carl J. Levine, Senior Technical Evangelist for NS1, will objectively discuss how DNS is used to solve Digital Transformation challenges in large SaaS applications, CDNs, AdTech platforms, and other demanding use cases. Carl J. Levine is the Senior Technical Evangelist for NS1. A veteran of the Internet Infrastructure space, he has over a decade of experience with startups, networking protocols and Internet infrastructure, combined with the unique ability to it...
22nd International Cloud Expo, taking place June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and co-located with the 1st DXWorld Expo will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud ...
"Cloud Academy is an enterprise training platform for the cloud, specifically public clouds. We offer guided learning experiences on AWS, Azure, Google Cloud and all the surrounding methodologies and technologies that you need to know and your teams need to know in order to leverage the full benefits of the cloud," explained Alex Brower, VP of Marketing at Cloud Academy, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clar...
Gemini is Yahoo’s native and search advertising platform. To ensure the quality of a complex distributed system that spans multiple products and components and across various desktop websites and mobile app and web experiences – both Yahoo owned and operated and third-party syndication (supply), with complex interaction with more than a billion users and numerous advertisers globally (demand) – it becomes imperative to automate a set of end-to-end tests 24x7 to detect bugs and regression. In th...
"MobiDev is a software development company and we do complex, custom software development for everybody from entrepreneurs to large enterprises," explained Alan Winters, U.S. Head of Business Development at MobiDev, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Coca-Cola’s Google powered digital signage system lays the groundwork for a more valuable connection between Coke and its customers. Digital signs pair software with high-resolution displays so that a message can be changed instantly based on what the operator wants to communicate or sell. In their Day 3 Keynote at 21st Cloud Expo, Greg Chambers, Global Group Director, Digital Innovation, Coca-Cola, and Vidya Nagarajan, a Senior Product Manager at Google, discussed how from store operations and ...
"There's plenty of bandwidth out there but it's never in the right place. So what Cedexis does is uses data to work out the best pathways to get data from the origin to the person who wants to get it," explained Simon Jones, Evangelist and Head of Marketing at Cedexis, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
SYS-CON Events announced today that CrowdReviews.com has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 22nd International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 5–7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. CrowdReviews.com is a transparent online platform for determining which products and services are the best based on the opinion of the crowd. The crowd consists of Internet users that have experienced products and services first-hand and have an interest in letting other potential buye...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Telecom Reseller has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 22nd International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York, NY. Telecom Reseller reports on Unified Communications, UCaaS, BPaaS for enterprise and SMBs. They report extensively on both customer premises based solutions such as IP-PBX as well as cloud based and hosted platforms.