I asked for true hardware based network virtualization from Cisco over 3 1/2 years ago. And, I guess Cisco has finally listened and will be giving me hardware based network virtualization. Only thing is it seems the industry has moved on to a software based solution. Cisco is in the middle of a software vs. hardware battle over the future of Software Defined Networking.
But back in my engineering days I had a practical problem I was trying to solve. I ran the infrastructure for a SaaS provider. And one of the consistent requests I’d get in 2009 was true multi-tenancy for the entire infrastructure. It was also a requirement as I wanted to run our internal systems on the same physical infrastructure as our product. It didn’t make sense to have hundreds of thousands of dollars in production switching gear just to have our ERP systems on basically top of the rack switches. I experienced what was basically the drivers today’s SDN solutions.
I was completely unaware of the solutions companies like Nicira working on at the time. I didn’t even know about OpenFlow. All I knew was that I had server virtualization down cold in my data center and network virtualization could solve some of the business challenges I faced. I didn’t understand then all of the challenges involved in providing the underlying technology. I just knew what I needed. I looked toward the industry leader for a solution and 4 years later they answer my call with the hardware based solution I asked for way back when… I’m not a fancy product manager or even that great of an engineer. So, if I saw the challenge and the solution over 3 years ago, I’m wondering out loud if Cisco has what it takes to lead us into the next generation of networking?