There were a pair of stories in the trades last week in which VMware finally took off the gloves and effectively proclaimed themselves the antithesis of Cisco in their approach to—well, not SDN, since both companies say they have gone beyond it. But to the next generation of networking, in any case.
(That’s rather a mouthful, though, so for the rest of this post I’ll refer to their efforts as SDN just as the rest of the industry does; please forgive the shorthand. I’ll get back to the other current discussion about whether SDN 1.0 is dead in another post.)
Any good journalist knows that a good controversy attracts eyeballs, and the best controversy has two—and only two—diametrically opposed antagonists. More than two would complicate the storyline. So we got stories that suggested not only that VMware is now officially at odds with Cisco, but also that SDN architectural options are themselves both binary and comprehensively represented by Cisco and VMware.
There’s a certain phrase I keep going past lately which always causes my muscles to tense and occasionally sends a shiver up my spine. Coincidentally (or not…) it’s nearing Halloween, so I thought I’d share my ghost story. This one, I swear, is all true.
It was the summer of 2005. SOA was in heavy rotation in the application realm. And it clearly stood to reason that an architectural shift that depended on the network for execution should be something that a networking provider like Cisco would have something to say about. So there were meetings. Oh, were there meetings.
This is one of those things I’m not entirely supposed to say out loud given my $dayjob, but I’ve been watching the industry back-and-forth since VMworld with bemusement and more than a few eyerolls.
So I was at VMworld at the end of August, and basically it was NSXworld for me. I took in the keynotes, Casado’s Spotlight session, and assorted “SDDC architecture with NSX” pitches. And of course I’ve been following the subsequent online slapfest between assorted VMware and Cisco personalities.
Exceedingly dignified soldiers
What I took away from my survey of the NSX talks at VMworld was that the relationship of overlay and physical networks has been transmitted within VMware via the old game of Telephone.