|By Michael Bushong||
|June 4, 2014 06:00 AM EDT||
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.
Join us at Cloud Expo | @ThingsExpo 2016 – June 7-9 at the Javits Center in New York City and November 1-3 at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA – and deliver your unique message in a way that is striking and unforgettable by taking advantage of SYS-CON's unmatched high-impact, result-driven event / media packages.
Feb. 13, 2016 10:00 AM EST
As enterprises work to take advantage of Big Data technologies, they frequently become distracted by product-level decisions. In most new Big Data builds this approach is completely counter-productive: it presupposes tools that may not be a fit for development teams, forces IT to take on the burden of evaluating and maintaining unfamiliar technology, and represents a major up-front expense. In his session at @BigDataExpo at @ThingsExpo, Andrew Warfield, CTO and Co-Founder of Coho Data, will dis...
Feb. 13, 2016 09:45 AM EST Reads: 226
SYS-CON Events announced today that (ISC)²® (“ISC-squared”) will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Two leading non-profits focused on cloud and information security, (ISC)² and Cloud Security Alliance (CSA), developed the Certified Cloud Security Professional (CCSP) certification to address the increased demand for cloud security expertise due to rapid growth in cloud. Recently named “The Next...
Feb. 13, 2016 09:30 AM EST
Advances in technology and ubiquitous connectivity have made the utilization of a dispersed workforce more common. Whether that remote team is located across the street or country, management styles/ approaches will have to be adjusted to accommodate this new dynamic. In his session at 17th Cloud Expo, Sagi Brody, Chief Technology Officer at Webair Internet Development Inc., focused on the challenges of managing remote teams, providing real-world examples that demonstrate what works and what do...
Feb. 13, 2016 09:00 AM EST Reads: 340
How Best to Integrate Cloud Foundry into Your Existing Ecosystem By @Gidrontxt | @DevOpsSummit #DevOps
As someone who has been dedicated to automation and Application Release Automation (ARA) technology for almost six years now, one of the most common questions I get asked regards Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS). Specifically, people want to know whether release automation is still needed when a PaaS is in place, and why. Isn't that what a PaaS provides? A solution to the deployment and runtime challenges of an application? Why would anyone using a PaaS then need an automation engine with workflow ...
Feb. 13, 2016 09:00 AM EST Reads: 241
Recognizing the need to identify and validate information security professionals’ competency in securing cloud services, the two leading membership organizations focused on cloud and information security, the Cloud Security Alliance (CSA) and (ISC)^2, joined together to develop an international cloud security credential that reflects the most current and comprehensive best practices for securing and optimizing cloud computing environments.
Feb. 13, 2016 08:00 AM EST
Predictive analytics tools monitor, report, and troubleshoot in order to make proactive decisions about the health, performance, and utilization of storage. Most enterprises combine cloud and on-premise storage, resulting in blended environments of physical, virtual, cloud, and other platforms, which justifies more sophisticated storage analytics. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Peter McCallum, Vice President of Datacenter Solutions at FalconStor, will discuss using predictive analytics to ...
Feb. 13, 2016 06:45 AM EST Reads: 418
Eighty percent of a data scientist’s time is spent gathering and cleaning up data, and 80% of all data is unstructured and almost never analyzed. Cognitive computing, in combination with Big Data, is changing the equation by creating data reservoirs and using natural language processing to enable analysis of unstructured data sources. This is impacting every aspect of the analytics profession from how data is mined (and by whom) to how it is delivered. This is not some futuristic vision: it's ha...
Feb. 13, 2016 04:45 AM EST Reads: 466
The cloud promises new levels of agility and cost-savings for Big Data, data warehousing and analytics. But it’s challenging to understand all the options – from IaaS and PaaS to newer services like HaaS (Hadoop as a Service) and BDaaS (Big Data as a Service). In her session at @BigDataExpo at @ThingsExpo, Hannah Smalltree, a director at Cazena, will provide an educational overview of emerging “as-a-service” options for Big Data in the cloud. This is critical background for IT and data profes...
Feb. 13, 2016 03:45 AM EST Reads: 246
Father business cycles and digital consumers are forcing enterprises to respond faster to customer needs and competitive demands. Successful integration of DevOps and Agile development will be key for business success in today’s digital economy. In his session at DevOps Summit, Pradeep Prabhu, Co-Founder & CEO of Cloudmunch, covered the critical practices that enterprises should consider to seamlessly integrate Agile and DevOps processes, barriers to implementing this in the enterprise, and pr...
Feb. 13, 2016 03:00 AM EST Reads: 468
Sensors and effectors of IoT are solving problems in new ways, but small businesses have been slow to join the quantified world. They’ll need information from IoT using applications as varied as the businesses themselves. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Roger Meike, Distinguished Engineer, Director of Technology Innovation at Intuit, showed how IoT manufacturers can use open standards, public APIs and custom apps to enable the Quantified Small Business. He used a Raspberry Pi to connect sensors...
Feb. 13, 2016 02:30 AM EST Reads: 379
Let’s face it, embracing new storage technologies, capabilities and upgrading to new hardware often adds complexity and increases costs. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Seth Oxenhorn, Vice President of Business Development & Alliances at FalconStor, will discuss how a truly heterogeneous software-defined storage approach can add value to legacy platforms and heterogeneous environments. The result reduces complexity, significantly lowers cost, and provides IT organizations with improved effi...
Feb. 13, 2016 12:45 AM EST Reads: 281
It's easy to assume that your app will run on a fast and reliable network. The reality for your app's users, though, is often a slow, unreliable network with spotty coverage. What happens when the network doesn't work, or when the device is in airplane mode? You get unhappy, frustrated users. An offline-first app is an app that works, without error, when there is no network connection.
Feb. 12, 2016 10:00 PM EST Reads: 250
Data-as-a-Service is the complete package for the transformation of raw data into meaningful data assets and the delivery of those data assets. In her session at 18th Cloud Expo, Lakshmi Randall, an industry expert, analyst and strategist, will address: What is DaaS (Data-as-a-Service)? Challenges addressed by DaaS Vendors that are enabling DaaS Architecture options for DaaS
Feb. 12, 2016 09:45 PM EST Reads: 390
SYS-CON Events announced today that Catchpoint Systems, Inc., a provider of innovative web and infrastructure monitoring solutions, has been named “Silver Sponsor” of SYS-CON's DevOps Summit at 18th Cloud Expo New York, which will take place June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Catchpoint is a leading Digital Performance Analytics company that provides unparalleled insight into customer-critical services to help consistently deliver an amazing customer experience. Designed...
Feb. 12, 2016 06:00 PM EST Reads: 407
Companies can harness IoT and predictive analytics to sustain business continuity; predict and manage site performance during emergencies; minimize expensive reactive maintenance; and forecast equipment and maintenance budgets and expenditures. Providing cost-effective, uninterrupted service is challenging, particularly for organizations with geographically dispersed operations.
Feb. 12, 2016 06:00 PM EST
When building large, cloud-based applications that operate at a high scale, it’s important to maintain a high availability and resilience to failures. In order to do that, you must be tolerant of failures, even in light of failures in other areas of your application. “Fly two mistakes high” is an old adage in the radio control airplane hobby. It means, fly high enough so that if you make a mistake, you can continue flying with room to still make mistakes. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Lee...
Feb. 12, 2016 04:45 PM EST
With the proliferation of both SQL and NoSQL databases, organizations can now target specific fit-for-purpose database tools for their different application needs regarding scalability, ease of use, ACID support, etc. Platform as a Service offerings make this even easier now, enabling developers to roll out their own database infrastructure in minutes with minimal management overhead. However, this same amount of flexibility also comes with the challenges of picking the right tool, on the right ...
Feb. 12, 2016 04:30 PM EST Reads: 197
SYS-CON Events announced today that Interoute, owner-operator of one of Europe's largest networks and a global cloud services platform, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7-9, 2015 at the Javits Center in New York, New York. Interoute is the owner-operator of one of Europe's largest networks and a global cloud services platform which encompasses 12 data centers, 14 virtual data centers and 31 colocation centers, with connections to 195 ad...
Feb. 12, 2016 04:15 PM EST Reads: 438
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 18th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7–9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and the 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...
Feb. 12, 2016 02:15 PM EST Reads: 464