However, in 2015, it no longer makes sense to focus solely on this squabble. It’s certainly true that the performance of the network processor or FPGA matters; the end-user needs to deploy equipment that meets their IT requirements and their budget. Nevertheless, modern data centers have evolved and we need to turn our attention to the software.
I’m not talking about software-defined networking but networking software in general. Network devices contain an operating system and applications that process the data, track the network, and provide the foundation for the applications and provide the services you use. Consequently, an IT buyer needs to evaluate devices based on all of their needs – including software (automation, APIs, quality) and the hardware (chips, performance).
There are also companies that have emerged to focus solely on the software part of the stack, such as Cumulus Networks, which has a Linux distribution called Cumulus Linux, or Pica8 with their PicOS. Arista has recently announced that it will license its EOS operating system separately from their switch hardware (although it requires Arista hardware).
Where does this lead IT buyers in their decision making? In the next blog, we’ll delve into what matters in software.