Who will play the software game best?
Even more interesting to me than technology evolution itself, is the broader forces at play in how new technology eventually permeates the market. That’s where the rubber really hits the road. Who encourages its movement; who resists its progression? You see, new technology is not always welcomed with open arms, no matter how ‘good’ it is. There are always older, more settled, and often well-used technologies that ‘the next best thing’ would have to displace to make an impact … and those technologies often have large and imposing brands connected to them that wield a lot of power and influence.
Software-defined networking is a good example. How this new way of networking disrupts the market over the next decade will be very interesting to watch. The market segment for original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), or networking vendors, will face arguably the biggest change. Some commentators predict that, as network design moves from hardware dominance to software control, there’ll be a corresponding change in market share … and a shift in the power base. Will large OEMs move with the times, or put up greater resistance?
Vendors with smaller shares of the market respond in the opposite way. From the start, the smaller OEMs played up software-defined networking as an inevitable change that will dominate the future of networking. These players see software-defined networking as an opportunity to break the dominance of large OEMs by grabbing market share, as well as a way of gaining a foothold in larger end-user organisations.
It would seem as though the days of large-vendor dominance in networking hardware could be numbered, as the future of networking will be defined by those who play the software game best. But where does all this leave you? Read our article The Lie of the Land: Network’s Changing Market Forces in the latest edition of Précis to help clear up some of the confusion caused by the opposing market forces.