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Missed Opportunities for Network Innovation

by Andrew Lerner  |  April 30, 2018  |  2 Comments

Network vendors love to talk about innovation. In fact, so much so, that innovation now means everything and nothing at the same time.  As we’ve published:

network vendors overhype even minor incremental feature enhancements as “innovative,” to create the perception that they’re delivering innovation into the market

Today, much of the network innovation hype centers around automation, multicloud, visibility/analytics, programmable silicon, intent-based networking and NVMe/RoCEv2.  These are all good things that will deliver value, however before cutting that PO for the latest & greatest technology, keep in mind that innovation must also come from within.  We’ve written about the lack of NetOps innovation coming from vendors before, and here are a few examples of missed opportunities in the data center networking space.

  • Cloud-managed networks are very popular for WLAN and SDWAN, and extend to wired switching as well. However, we do not see cloud-managed networking being delivered in the data center, although many clients would benefit from it, particularly in the midmarket.
  • In midmarket and smaller environments, the concept of “the 2-switch data center” provides ample compute capacity, and performance for up to several hundred VMs. Unfortunately, we rarely see vendors leading with this architecture, instead leading with more expensive and more complicated solutions.
  • Ethernet fabrics provide a simplified way to manage multiple switches as a single construct, and we believe could be delivered as a mobile application to further simplify network operations, but this has not materialized in the market.
  • And of course, some combination of each of the above would be very helpful as well.
Regards, Andrew

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Andrew Lerner
Research Vice President
6+ years at Gartner
21 years IT Industry

Andrew Lerner is a Vice President in Gartner Research. He covers enterprise networking, including data center, campus and WAN with a focus on emerging technologies (SDN, SD-WAN, and Intent-based networking). Read Full Bio

Thoughts on Missed Opportunities for Network Innovation

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  2. Pete Sanders says:

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