In case you weren’t aware, networking is cool again!
The announcement by VMware to acquire Nicira doesn’t just serve as notice that software defined networking (SDN) is much more than just a science experiment. It states loud and clear that networking is the hottest market in technology right now. In other words, networking is very cool again. And I am personally very happy and proud to be in the middle of the (r)evolution with Embrane!
It’s crystal clear that the way networks are being built and managed is fundamentally changing. Now VMware’s intent to acquire one of the most visible players in the SDN space puts networking squarely in the spotlight of the movement toward a Software Defined Data Center. Moving forward, programmability, agility and elasticity -- words typically associated with virtualized compute and storage infrastructures -- are going to be key tenets of the network. Count on it.
Yesterday’s announcement also signals a major shift in the networking competitive landscape. Simply put, this is VMWare’s way of announcing its presence in networking…with authority. The potential VMware has to shift the power in networking from hardware to software puts traditional networking hardware companies like Cisco, Dell, HP and Juniper on notice, not to mention software players Citrix, RedHat, Oracle and Microsoft, who are also impacted by the move.
However, don’t mistake this debate to be only about hardware versus software. Everyone in the SDN and even virtualization spaces agrees that decoupling the software from the hardware gives you much more agility, savings and operational efficiencies. Obviously there is an element of this, but the bigger discussion is around where to put the intelligence in your network architecture. When it comes to Layer 2 connectivity, VMware/Nicira advocate putting the intelligence in the hypervisor, or at the edge. If this happens, the core infrastructure, built on traditional switching technology, will be become much less valuable.
We still believe that building a true Software Defined Data Center requires not only virtualizing the connectivity components of the network, but also the Layer 4-7 network services that deliver the most value by accelerating, securing, offloading, and ultimately scaling applications. To do this, the paradigm to deliver network services needs to change. With heleos, we provide a very easy way for enterprise and service provider customers to deploy network services with programmability, agility and automation – promises that the software defined data center makes in terms of value.
We are very excited about the announcement and think it’s a banner day for the networking industry. We are just beginning to see the results of what companies like Embrane and Nicira have been building for quite a while now, which is the future of networking. And, once again, this is the place to be if you want to be cool!