Big Switch Networks has said its ambition is to position itself as “the VWware of networking.”
Telecom Times sat down with Big Switch Networks founder Kyle Forster and CMO Gregg Holzrichter at the sidelines of the OpenStack Summit in Sydney to discuss the firm’s performance and plans for the near term.
“I was with VMware for close to five years back in 2005, and kind of wintered this period of hyper-growth, and evangelism, and kept on talking about server consolidation until we were blue in the face,” said Holzrichter. “Hey, put this smart software layer onto your computer, and all of the sudden you can actually drive utilisation from 10 per cent to 80 per cent.”
Holzrichter recalled how initially, most of the x86 server players were a little bit reticent to work with VMware because if “they could put this smart software layer on your server, you’re going to sell 10 times less of them.”
“But the benefits were so strong, all of the x86 folks ended up partnering with VMware,” said Holzrichter, adding that Big Switch Networks had identified a similar trend taken shape around networking.
“We’re the arms dealer to all of the ‘anybody but Cisco crowd’,” said Holzrichter. “I think we’re at an early innings, but our aspiration is to be the VMware of networking.”
Meanwhile, Forster touched upon some emerging trends within networking he had noted. “A couple of weeks ago I was with one of our very early customers when I was in Washington DC. They’ve been using us in scale and production for three year,” he said. “We had this really interesting conversation, like: ‘Okay, what’s happened over the last three years?”
Forster explained how the challenge within networking increasingly has nothing to do with software-defined networking but rather with the issue of having to find ways of scaling up without being able to endlessly bolster teams in terms of headcount and resources.
“Networking enterprise teams are not going to grow; they’re just not,” said Forster. “And I don’t think SDN matters, I don’t. Our challenge is can we take teams that are the same size, and can we manage 5x the infrastructure; or can we manage the same size infrastructure with 5x the quality?”
“This particular DC customer is now managing infrastructure that is five times the original size,” Forster said.