Welcome!

SDN Journal Authors: Olivier Huynh Van, David Paquette, Elizabeth White, Pat Romanski, Liz McMillan

Blog Feed Post

5 things Arista’s impending IPO says about networking

Networking seems to be an industry that thrives on anticipation. At various times, the anticipation bounces between topics (when SDN will hit production environments, when Cisco would spin in Insieme, and so on), but the entire space seems to bounce around from anticipated event to anticipated event. It would seem that the next one in the queue is Arista’s IPO.

On the surface, Arista’s public offering is primarily about raising funds and rewarding people who have worked hard to build a successful company over the past several years. But what else does it say about the networking industry at large?

Networking is not dead

When the Internet was created, networking was huge. The companies that provided the gear to make the Internet work were handsomely rewarded for figuring out how to push bits from here to there. Over the past 15 years, however, a lot of the luster has worn off. Infrastructure is less sexy than Web 2.0, social media, and crowdsourcing. Talent follows opportunity, and with most of the opportunity in other hotter spaces, vendors have had a more difficult time attracting the kind of talent necessary to evolve the space.

The effects of an aging workforce are dramatic. Without new blood, you don’t get access to new ideas. It is unsurprising that the industry has floundered a bit for the past 15 years, adding on incrementally but rarely breaking free from the inertial chains of yesteryear.

If Arista’s IPO is successful, it could provide a jolt to the collective industry. By showing that the space is lucrative, Arista could help bolster the case for many networking companies that there is excitement to be had outside the glow of social media and Web 2.0.

The end game is more than a mega acquisition

Some would argue that there has been a steady stream of cash flowing into networking since about 2010. With SDN, there has been a boom in new companies all making the world a better place through some kind of separation of software and hardware. The poster child for this boom is certainly Nicira ($1.2B turns heads), but there have been a a number of companies that have cashed in on this SDN wave.

A successful IPO would show the world that networking success is not limited to being bought out by one of the few larger players.

If we are being honest, we will admit that the hype that surrounds SDN, NFV, and network virtualization is driving up perceived values of these startup companies. But are revenues following? If they are not, then the only successful outcome for a lot of the startups in the space is acquisition. There are a large number of people banking on dumb money taking them out before they ever have to prove that their product ideas can translate to business returns.

If Arista demonstrates that the market will support a full-blown business, it shifts the focus back to building something sustainable. In other words, you can be successful through good, old-fashioned hard work, not just by riding the wave and slapping an “SDN Inside” tag on the outside.

The market is hungry for alternatives

That Arista is gaining ground says as much about Cisco as it does about Arista. The switch markets generally have been a fairly comfortable space for Cisco for the better part of two decades now. But most markets require more than a single dominant incumbent. Having at least one solid alternative puts pressure on everyone in the space. Innovation thrives on competition, and customers benefit from innovation.

The interesting footnote to this is how the definition of alternative might play out. Legacy networking has been yearning for real competition, and Arista seems to have stepped into that role. What happens if the market shifts now? Will there be another set of SDN solutions seeking an SDN alternative? If so, does that open the space to other companies?

Market success starts with narrow focus

While the emphasis around the IPO will be on the broader switching TAM, what Arista’s exit really does is reenforce the fact that successful enterprises start with a narrow focus. Arista was very successful in leading the charge towards merchant silicon in support of faster, cheaper solutions for financial services companies. By reducing the problem set to those things needed by a specific market, Arista was able to make meaningful headway against its unfocused incumbent, and then use the resulting capabilities to move into adjacent spaces.

Interestingly, if you look at the other major networking company to have success against Cisco’s incumbency, you would see that Juniper used a similar tact in grabbing share in the service provider space.

As investor eyes move from Arista to the plethora of other companies in the infrastructure space, what does this tell us? The SDN dialogue is largely about general networking. Most companies pursuing SDN publicly are building general networking solutions. Arista and Juniper tell us that focus is a key ingredient to sustainable success. It is probably less important who exists within the hype and more important which companies are focused on specific problems within specific segments.

Workflow is the new black

Arista sells hardware, but a good part of their success is actually baked into the software. What Arista realized fairly early on is that automating networking workflows reduced the barriers to entry and created compelling reasons to buy. If SDN is an organic industry reaction to the difficulty in managing networks, it would seem Arista might have provided a blueprint for others in the space.

Going forward, the question is whether those workflows are bounded by the networking devices (things like autoload, for instance), or if IT is moving to a point where workflows across infrastructure need to be coordinated. For example, would Big Data workflows that include both networking and storage be a good target for workflow automation?

Reapplying the Arista workflow emphasis at a broader level will likely yield strong results. The questions shift from managing information inside the box to handling information across infrastructure boundaries. Predicting success could be about locating companies with their eyes focused a bit outside the box.

The eventual outcome for Arista’s exit is unknown. But it very well could be that what we learn is most relevant to the next crop of companies.

The post 5 things Arista’s impending IPO says about networking 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."

@CloudExpo Stories
According to Forrester Research, every business will become either a digital predator or digital prey by 2020. To avoid demise, organizations must rapidly create new sources of value in their end-to-end customer experiences. True digital predators also must break down information and process silos and extend digital transformation initiatives to empower employees with the digital resources needed to win, serve, and retain customers.
As ridesharing competitors and enhanced services increase, notable changes are occurring in the transportation model. Despite the cost-effective means and flexibility of ridesharing, both drivers and users will need to be aware of the connected environment and how it will impact the ridesharing experience. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Timothy Evavold, Executive Director Automotive at Covisint, will discuss key challenges and solutions to powering a ride sharing and/or multimodal model in the a...
If you’re responsible for an application that depends on the data or functionality of various IoT endpoints – either sensors or devices – your brand reputation depends on the security, reliability, and compliance of its many integrated parts. If your application fails to deliver the expected business results, your customers and partners won't care if that failure stems from the code you developed or from a component that you integrated. What can you do to ensure that the endpoints work as expect...
In this strange new world where more and more power is drawn from business technology, companies are effectively straddling two paths on the road to innovation and transformation into digital enterprises. The first path is the heritage trail – with “legacy” technology forming the background. Here, extant technologies are transformed by core IT teams to provide more API-driven approaches. Legacy systems can restrict companies that are transitioning into digital enterprises. To truly become a lea...
IoT is fundamentally transforming the auto industry, turning the vehicle into a hub for connected services, including safety, infotainment and usage-based insurance. Auto manufacturers – and businesses across all verticals – have built an entire ecosystem around the Connected Car, creating new customer touch points and revenue streams. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Macario Namie, Head of IoT Strategy at Cisco Jasper, will share real-world examples of how IoT transforms the car from a static p...
Cloud computing is being adopted in one form or another by 94% of enterprises today. Tens of billions of new devices are being connected to The Internet of Things. And Big Data is driving this bus. An exponential increase is expected in the amount of information being processed, managed, analyzed, and acted upon by enterprise IT. This amazing is not part of some distant future - it is happening today. One report shows a 650% increase in enterprise data by 2020. Other estimates are even higher....
From wearable activity trackers to fantasy e-sports, data and technology are transforming the way athletes train for the game and fans engage with their teams. In his session at @ThingsExpo, will present key data findings from leading sports organizations San Francisco 49ers, Orlando Magic NBA team. By utilizing data analytics these sports orgs have recognized new revenue streams, doubled its fan base and streamlined costs at its stadiums. John Paul is the CEO and Founder of VenueNext. Prior ...
One of biggest questions about Big Data is “How do we harness all that information for business use quickly and effectively?” Geographic Information Systems (GIS) or spatial technology is about more than making maps, but adding critical context and meaning to data of all types, coming from all different channels – even sensors. In his session at @ThingsExpo, William (Bill) Meehan, director of utility solutions for Esri, will take a closer look at the current state of spatial technology and ar...
The Internet of Things can drive efficiency for airlines and airports. In their session at @ThingsExpo, Shyam Varan Nath, Principal Architect with GE, and Sudip Majumder, senior director of development at Oracle, will discuss the technical details of the connected airline baggage and related social media solutions. These IoT applications will enhance travelers' journey experience and drive efficiency for the airlines and the airports. The session will include a working demo and a technical d...
Businesses are struggling to manage the information flow and interactions between all of these new devices and things jumping on their network, and the apps and IT systems they control. The data businesses gather is only helpful if they can do something with it. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Chris Witeck, Principal Technology Strategist at Citrix, will discuss how different the impact of IoT will be for large businesses, expanding how IoT will allow large organizations to make their legacy ap...
The many IoT deployments around the world are busy integrating smart devices and sensors into their enterprise IT infrastructures. Yet all of this technology – and there are an amazing number of choices – is of no use without the software to gather, communicate, and analyze the new data flows. Without software, there is no IT. In this power panel at @ThingsExpo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists will look at the protocols that communicate data and the emerging data analy...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Commvault, a global leader in enterprise data protection and information management, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Commvault is a leading provider of data protection and information management solutions, helping companies worldwide activate their data to drive more value and business insight and to transform moder...
SYS-CON Events announced today that eCube Systems, a leading provider of middleware modernization, integration, and management solutions, will exhibit at @DevOpsSummit at 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. eCube Systems offers a family of middleware evolution products and services that maximize return on technology investment by leveraging existing technical equity to meet evolving business needs. ...
Creating replica copies to tolerate a certain number of failures is easy, but very expensive at cloud-scale. Conventional RAID has lower overhead, but it is limited in the number of failures it can tolerate. And the management is like herding cats (overseeing capacity, rebuilds, migrations, and degraded performance). Download Slide Deck: ▸ Here In his general session at 18th Cloud Expo, Scott Cleland, Senior Director of Product Marketing for the HGST Cloud Infrastructure Business Unit, discusse...
Whether they’re located in a public, private, or hybrid cloud environment, cloud technologies are constantly evolving. While the innovation is exciting, the end mission of delivering business value and rapidly producing incremental product features is paramount. In his session at @DevOpsSummit at 19th Cloud Expo, Kiran Chitturi, CTO Architect at Sungard AS, will discuss DevOps culture, its evolution of frameworks and technologies, and how it is achieving maturity. He will also cover various st...
All clouds are not equal. To succeed in a DevOps context, organizations should plan to develop/deploy apps across a choice of on-premise and public clouds simultaneously depending on the business needs. This is where the concept of the Lean Cloud comes in - resting on the idea that you often need to relocate your app modules over their life cycles for both innovation and operational efficiency in the cloud. In his session at @DevOpsSummit at19th Cloud Expo, Valentin (Val) Bercovici, CTO of So...
What are the new priorities for the connected business? First: businesses need to think differently about the types of connections they will need to make – these span well beyond the traditional app to app into more modern forms of integration including SaaS integrations, mobile integrations, APIs, device integration and Big Data integration. It’s important these are unified together vs. doing them all piecemeal. Second, these types of connections need to be simple to design, adapt and configure...
Digital innovation is the next big wave of business transformation based on digital technologies of which IoT and Big Data are key components, For example: Business boundary innovation is a challenge to excavate third-party business value using IoT and BigData, like Nest Business structure innovation may propose re-building business structure from scratch, as Uber does in the taxicab industry The social model innovation is also a big challenge to the new social architecture with the design fr...
A strange thing is happening along the way to the Internet of Things, namely far too many devices to work with and manage. It has become clear that we'll need much higher efficiency user experiences that can allow us to more easily and scalably work with the thousands of devices that will soon be in each of our lives. Enter the conversational interface revolution, combining bots we can literally talk with, gesture to, and even direct with our thoughts, with embedded artificial intelligence, wh...
Data is an unusual currency; it is not restricted by the same transactional limitations as money or people. In fact, the more that you leverage your data across multiple business use cases, the more valuable it becomes to the organization. And the same can be said about the organization’s analytics. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Bill Schmarzo, CTO for the Big Data Practice at EMC, will introduce a methodology for capturing, enriching and sharing data (and analytics) across the organizati...