– Will Network Disaggregation Play in the Enterprise?


Disaggregation seems to be all the rage in networking these days.

HP is the latest to decouple merchant silicon-based hardware from operating system software, following Dell and Juniper. The strategy is to attract web-scale companies like Google, Facebook and Amazon who need the flexibility, choice, rapid deployment/decommissioning and cost efficiency of commodity “white box” switches capable of running a variety of software packages.

This is in contrast to vendor-specific switches with custom ASICs or merchant silicon tightly coupled with operating system and services software, which pervade the enterprise network. These products are also backed by comprehensive service and support and other vendor-added value, and this, as well as costs that vendors incur in developing the switches, factors into the product’s total cost.

So the question becomes, does disaggregation make sense for enterprise shops as well as cloud providers? And if not now, will it ever?

“I think disaggregation will only work if the data center is the competitive differentiator for that business,” says Forrester Research analyst Andre Kindness.

IDC analyst Brad Casemore says, “It’s not suitable for every enterprise, but there are some — mostly large but also a few smaller ones — in a number of vertical markets for whom it will be attractive. Typically, these organizations are moving quickly into hybrid cloud and are adopting a DevOps approach to running IT.”

More of the post from Jim Duffy

About Tony Johnson

Innovative helps you balance your business requirements, service levels, staff and infrastructure to make your IT as effective as possible. Tony Johnson is Vice President of Operations at Innovative and has been helping clients optimize their IT spend and operations since 1983.

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