SDN scares big network suppliers

Cisco, Juniper and Brocade have had to embrace software defined networking or risk their hold on the market, says Emulex’s Sean Walsh

Market dominating suppliers have been forced to get onboard with software defined networking (SDN) or face losing their customers as the trend takes off.

This was the claim made by Shaun Walsh, vice-president of marketing at Emulex, who gave a presentation at this week’s SNW Europe conference in Frankfurt.

“People like Cisco, Juniper and Brocade have announced their software defined networking strategies,” Walsh said. 

“They will put a nice layer on the outside and still have their stuff on the inside, but even they are looking at it now and realising that if they don’t do this, customers will go to people that do.”

The fact that the big guns are taking on the technology shows how SDN is affecting the market place, making traditionally closed companies take a more open approach.

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“When you start seeing those players embracing this class of, I don’t want to say 'open' as I think that is the wrong term, but this class of 'flexibility', that means you have got a technology that really matters,” added Shaun Walsh.

The executive claimed the companies were “scared” of losing out to the more innovative start-ups releasing SDN solutions and this got to the core of their business models.

“Make no mistake, big companies drive on fear,” said Walsh. “They are paranoid, they want to make sure they keep their ship running and when you can’t embrace this, not just Cisco but the Brocades, the Junipers, you know you have got work to do.

“These guys will fundamentally change everything.”

But it will not just be the networking industry, according to Walsh, who believes software defined services will find their way across the whole of the datacentre, forcing other large suppliers to join in with the new approach.

“This is not just going to be about networking and servers and virtualisation, it is going to be about everything,” he said. 

“You are going to have a very flexible hardware infrastructure and those who deliver the best over the top services and let you dynamically pick what you want and mash those tools together in a ‘Lego format', are going to be the ones who win."

Walsh concluded: “The software defined model is pervasive, it is going to happen and it is going to happen across the entire infrastructure. 

"It is not about what we make, but the reality of what we need to deliver in the world.”

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