Networking industry is indeed going through an interesting time. One thing is quite clear that the innovation at software speed has begun. Within just a span of one year, Nicira, Embrane and Midokura launched their products. PlumGrid and Contrail are probably 6-9 months shy from launching their offers. What is really interesting about these companies is that they are pure software play and innovating at software speed. I am quite impressed with what Midokura has done with Midonet. Pure software – they have taken OVS and turned it to a virtual distributed router, firewall and LB. I guess they have started where Nicira left off :-). And BTW, all these stuff they have done with some 10 engineers. Isn’t that impressive? I think we will see more of these companies in the near future.
I have been thinking about how things are evolving in cloud(private or public) scale Data Center space, and here are some of things that I see are happening:
- Barrier to entry in the networking space is decreasing. Good for the industry as innovations will thrive, and we already see the proof points.
- I am convinced that we will see more and more innovations at the network edge (hypervisor layer). In other words, we will see more overlay type solutions using software. Open vSwitch will most likely be the foundation, and companies will innovate on top of that.
- IMO, physical network will become plain L3 Fabric with non blocking CLOS/Fat Tree architecture that scales horizontally.
- Network services are moving to the network edge, and it will accelerate more with the private cloud adoption.
- Fundamentally, network will be fluid – any workloads, any network services anywhere without a single chocking point for network services.
- Orchestration is the key. In the last couple of months, I can’t believe how many times I have heard the comment that I want to build private cloud based on open stuff. BTW, they didn’t mean exactly Openstack, but it could very well be.
I like Marc Andreessen’s comment – software is eating the world. Networking industry is no different.
Rants and rave are welcome.