Lippis Report 172: A Perfect Storm Clears a Path for IBM to Re-Enter the Network Market

May 24th, 2011

Three strong trends are taking shape that are so powerful they threaten the status quo of the networking industry. These trends are more like storms than new markets; in fact they represent a major industry discontinuity. The first storm is happening now and is represented by merchant silicon for 10 and 40 GbE chips lowering the barrier of entry for new entrants in the Ethernet switch market. The second storm is much weaker but promises to be just as big, or bigger, than the first. This second storm is the creation of a software ecosystem in the networking industry, thanks to initiatives such as Software Defined Networks (SDN), OpenFlow, Arista Network’s EOS Central, etc. The third storm is the paradigm shift in enterprise IT spending thanks to mobile and cloud computing. These three storms are starting to interact and feed upon each other, forming a perfect storm in the networking industry. The perfect storm is already doing damage, as all major IT firms position product portfolios to navigate through it and prepare for its aftermath of making existing networking legacy.

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