Response: Open Networking: The Whale That Swallowed SDN

Art Fewell, whose views I greatly respect, has written a very good post on Network World entitled “Open Networking: The Whale That Swallowed SDN“. It’s a great historical summary of SDN 2011-present, with some noteworthy areas of concern. I agree with the general thrust of Art’s thesis, yet at many points I found myself thinking “Yeah, but…” I started to write a few comments on the Network World page, but the comments turned into a page, so here we are.

Here’s what I really liked in Art’s piece: Continue reading

The Most Successful Network Startup of 2014

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Rant Addendum: Radical Deperimeterization

This is part 5 of an occasional series. The initial post is here.

At the end of my marketing rant a few weeks ago, I suggested that corporations might need to reimagine their places in the universe in order to be effective in the new marketing world order—not as central sources of information, but as minor nodes in a much larger network.

I know, I know. That’s kind of a big blow to the corporate ego. But let’s be honest, with few exceptions, potential and even actual users of your products just aren’t that into you. They may like your products just fine because they serve a useful purpose somehow. That’s a different thing than being into a “brand” in itself. But so what? Everybody talks about customer-centricity and solution selling, right? So what really needs to change?

Well, almost everything about how a typical corporation runs, really. Continue reading

Some Formative Sources of My Ideas About Technology

I was musing recently about things I’ve read or otherwise consumed that have stuck with me over the years, things that I keep finding myself coming back to as I work through various ideas about technology innovation and adoption. I thought I would share some long-time favorites–mostly because I think they’re inherently interesting, but also because it might provide some context for other things I write on this blog. Links are provided for the curious. Continue reading

Thoughts on SDN Consumability

I’ve been using the phrase “SDN consumability” here and there of late, assuming that there was nothing particularly revolutionary in the idea. The response, however, is typically a cocked head, an interested look, and a question: “What do you mean by that?”

So here’s what I mean by that:

In order for SDN to see mainstream adoption, SDN solutions need to be/have

  • Simple to operate – easy to deploy, low-to-moderate learning curve
  • Safe and reliable – tech is stable, nothing blows up, no one gets fired
  • No blue-sky requirements, limited DIY – tech and process migration support available

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Rant: The Internet Killed the Traditional Marketer

This is part 4 of a five-part series. Read part 1 here. Read part 5 here.

The match that lit this was a comment Ethan Banks made in his latest anti-Klout post:

If you’re in marketing, you need a better way to discover who the influencers are. My recommendation is to engage in the communities you want to market to. Make friends with those people. Find out who matters. It’s more work, but you’ll end up with something much more nuanced and real than a Klout score. You’ll have a relationship with a human being who knows other human beings. That’s where social is *really* at. Community – it’s not just a word.

I read that, set it to stewing on a back burner of my mind, and went back to editing whitepapers. But only for so long. Continue reading

A Bit More on Brand and Communities for Techies

This became part 3ish of a five-part series, part 2 being the Geek Whisperers podcast linked to below. Read part 1 here. Read part 4 here.

The Geek Whisperers were kind enough to invite me to join their podcast a couple of weeks back to talk about vendor-hosted communities as part of the marketing & sales mix. They just posted the results today. We wound up talking more than I expected about “the B word” (Branding). I suppose I shouldn’t have been surprised by this, since the whole point of the blog post that kicked off the G-W connection was that certs and these types of communities are built to foster brand loyalty.

Nonetheless, I found this sort of funny since the Branding department tends to be the bane of every product marketer’s existence. They make us spell out things like “Cisco Unified Computing System” or “VMware vCenter Operations Manager” in everything we write even though it makes for really awkward sentences and nobody in the real world ever refers to the products that way anyway. This is a very typical case where official Corporate Branding actually gets in the way of a product acquiring and building on an organic identity within its user base. If your users fondly refer to your product–officially known, let’s say, as the Fortuna Unified Zazzle Zapper 3627–as “FUZZ3k”…go with it sometimes.. Continue reading

The Legend of SDN: One Controller to Rule Them All

I originally posted this just over a year ago (Feb 5, 2013) on my corporate blog. I’m reposting here now because the subject of “master controllers” and federation is coming up again more insistently as users begin to think through how to implement a controller-based architecture. I expect to be writing more on this soon.

As we enter the second(ish) Year of SDN, we’ve gone from irrational exuberance to some semblance of reality, with some first-generation products starting to come to market now. That will inevitably drive more reality, on the user side, but an embrace of reality may take a bit longer on the vendor side. I say that because there are still plenty of “whoever wins the controller wars wins all” notions being promulgated in various forums. Continue reading

Communities of the Faithful

This wound up being Part I of a five-part series. Read the next post here.

Back in December, a friend and I were sitting around shooting the breeze about orchestration and automation, because what else would you talk about on a Saturday afternoon? The talk turned to the political challenges of developing cross-platform tools, and then to innovation more generally. My friend, who has a certain fondness for bombast, demanded at this point, “Why do vendors who have done basically no innovation for years continue to have such intense customer loyalty, while newer companies with actual solutions to the problems the big guys have created struggle to survive?”

Leaving aside the obvious bit about people having natural reservations about ongoing support from a vendor struggling to survive, we concluded that incumbent advantage has at least as much to do with the personal, emotional value that users derive from their association with a particular vendor rather than anything that can be put on a spreadsheet.

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Notes from ONS 2014 Day 0: SDN Market Opportunities Tutorial

Yes, I’m crazy enough to get up early on a Sunday to go to an SDN conference. I won’t say that there was a lot of “new news” in this session yesterday, but it certainly validated a number of hypotheses. I wound up taking many pages of notes even so, and I’ll summarize the main themes and highlights here.

Open Source and Standards Bodies

While it shouldn’t be a surprise at the Open Networking Summit to hear attendees and speakers beat the open source drum, it was interesting how completely dismissive of traditional vendor implementations most of the speakers were. Prodip Sen of Verizon, also Chair of the ETSI NFV group, commented matter-of-factly,

“Open source is the new standards body. Equipment manufacturers need to build openness, interoperability and modularity into their products. We’re not interested in vertically integrated stacks—that day is gone.”

I could caveat that by noting that even the “enterprise” speakers (from Ebay/Paypal) were rather Web 2.0-flavored and so not completely representative of the broad mass of non-tech enterprises and their needs, but the general direction is pretty unmistakable.

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