Smart Network or Dumb Network: Customers Have More Pressing Needs

Mike Fratto
Mike Fratto

Summary Bullets:

  • Few enterprises are 100% virtualized, so trying to make the argument that “a virtual overlay is all an enterprise needs” ignores a very real fact of life.
  • Enterprises require intelligence in both the virtual and physical networks, as each plays its part in delivering applications where they are needed.

I had hoped we were done with the smart network/dumb network argument, but I guess nothing ever really goes out of style.  History has proven over and over that anyone who tries to set extremes like smart network vs. dumb network is basing their entire premise on unrealistic expectations.  If I look at the extremes of either a completely virtual data center – and I mean everything – or a completely physical one, then I can make a convincing argument for either a dumb network or a smart one.  However, those examples are the far-edge cases and extremely rare.  Enterprises do not exist as edge cases.  Enterprises need intelligence in both the virtual network and the physical one. Continue reading “Smart Network or Dumb Network: Customers Have More Pressing Needs”

Overlay Networks Are the Answer to Slow-Moving Service Provider WANs

Mike Fratto
Mike Fratto

Summary Bullets:

  • Network operators are competing with enterprise technology for value-added services.
  • Enterprises, being more nimble, can bring up new services faster regardless of their service provider.

One day in 1994, I called my local telephone company about getting a foreign exchange line to a nearby city so that I could stop paying local long distance.  I was told the install would cost $1,500 and the monthly charge was $500.  I asked why it was so expensive, and the representative said that the prices covered the cost to run the line 30 miles and a monthly right-of-way rental.  My next question – “Can I see the crew run the line and do I get to keep it when I am done?” – was met with silence and then a “no.”  That was my first run-in with the rigid IT and archaic processes at a large telco, and it illustrates a problem IT faces today. Continue reading “Overlay Networks Are the Answer to Slow-Moving Service Provider WANs”