Last week I had a brief meeting with Yoram Heller of hot cloud player Morphlabs and we talked about the next wave of cloud innovations. Of particular interest was the concept of specialized software suites that ride on top of the commoditized cloud platforms that have so far captured most of the popular interest in cloud computing.
It is possible, if indeed likely, that most forms of dedicated hardware or appliances in the network will be replaced by powerful instances, workloads and or/ boutique platforms that transcend the physical and technical boundaries that have been in place since the rise of the enterprise network. Perhaps that is how network automation plays itself out, as software trumps specialized network hardware.
Check out the Open Networking Foundation for a similar perspective.
Of course that has significant ramifications for the market leaders in networking, their channels of distribution and increasing power densities in already out of date data centers incapable of supporting increasing populations of cheaper yet more powerful (and power consuming) servers running growing populations of workloads, virtual machines and specialized management applications.
Cheaper and more powerful commodity servers replace arrays of dedicated appliances installed for specialized network and IT operations, driving power densities higher as power and cooling costs surpass hardware and software costs. The physical data center itself then becomes a point of strategic leverage with customization driven by business need, climate, network access, local resources and power and tax considerations.
Dedicated power plants, higher voltages to the floor, air and water economization all then lead to competitive advantage as cheaper and more powerful infrastructure increase the relative cost of power and cooling to total IT TCO and Cisco’s Lew Tucker’s (see Lew’s Law) prediction is fulfilled. An advanced data center substantially reduces IT operating expenses as energy costs grow.