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Plexxi Pulse: Plexxi on Cisco Live

With Cisco Live happening in San Francisco this week, the networking industry has been buzzing with commentary on the future of IT. In an effort to bring additional transparency to the industry, we explained some of these moves and technologies in a recent byline, video and blog post back when Cisco first announced their Insieme spin-in. If you didn’t catch these the first time around, it’s worth giving them a read with this week’s news.

In this week’s PlexxiTube video of the week, our own Dan Backman asks, does Plexxi have a CLI? He notes that the Plexxi Control already provides a central GUI that can be used to manage the network, but also points out that our operations team is more comfortable with a scriptable CLI.

Will Tech Giants Disappear? Cisco’s CEO Thinks So

Troy Kuhn comments on Cisco CEO John Chamber’s latest commentary in this article for Bidness Etc. He specifically highlights Chamber’s statement that the tech industry could see massive consolidation in the coming years. I actually think Chambers is spiritually right about the competitive comments: there will be brutal consolidation in the coming years. There are a lot of companies that have built their businesses around constantly building bigger with more features. This ignores a couple of things.

First, the addition of all these new features has come at the expense of complexity. The operational burden is crushing.  Second, the way most things get more scale is not by shunting everything through more massive elements. You get smaller, distributed, and coordinated. Finally, anyone who has built a business on more features in larger form factors will be in trouble. Anyone who builds around making things easier to do and facilitates coordination will do ok.

As companies falter, they will be taken out. The IP and the talent alone are worth it, even if by the time they get taken out they are seeing declining revenues.

TCO of Cisco ACI 3X Better than VMware NSX

This week Jim Duffy provided analysis on Cisco ACI, VMware NSX and Cumulus’ role in each of the companies’ overall responses to the SDN movement. I actually wrote about this awhile back. The real thing Cumulus is attacking is support costs, not switch costs. While people have been fixated on CapEx, the real value in transformational change is elsewhere.

The challenge with this approach is that it is very sensitive to pricing strategy changes by the incumbent. If Cisco really senses a threat, they can drop the prices in the short term, starve growth, wipe out the competition, and then resume. It’s very Machiavellian.

The biggest threat is someone willing to ride out the short-term pain in pursuit of a longer-term business. You have to wonder whether VMware is a little scary. They bought Nicira for a lot of cash. The return from a revenue perspective certainly hasn’t been there yet, but they remain steadfast. That kind of determination is interesting.

For reference, the blog I wrote about the Cumulus and support costs is here.

AT&T’s Marian Croak: SDN and NFV will change network suppliers in ‘fundamental ways’

Mike Dano highlights AT&T’s recent “User-Defined Network Cloud” initiative, and how it will change network suppliers in fundamental ways. He specifically looks at Marian Croak’s commentary on generalized hardware and the company’s shift towards the commodity movement. In my opinion, the shift to more generalized hardware is interesting in that it will take away CapEx as a primary concern. This will shift to the larger contribution to total cost – OpEx, which focuses the conversation a whole lot more on workflow, integration and overall resource orchestration.

The shift in emphasis is what will have the really profound impact on suppliers. Whether the underlying hardware is specialized or general is a footnote, especially for lower-capacity networking devices that have all converged on a small set of merchant silicon already.

 

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More Stories By Mat Mathews

Visionary solutions are built by visionary leaders. Plexxi co-founder and Vice President of Product Management Mat Mathews has spent 20 years in the networking industry observing, experimenting and ultimately honing his technology vision. The resulting product — a combination of traditional networking, software-defined networking and photonic switching — represents the best of Mat's career experiences. Prior to Plexxi, Mat held VP of Product Management roles at Arbor Networks and Crossbeam Systems. Mat began his career as a software engineer for Wellfleet Communications, building high speed Frame Relay Switches for the carrier market. Mat holds a Bachelors of Science in Computer Systems Engineering from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.