The Good, the Bad & the Distinctly Unwelcome
Light Reading readers have seen much change in the global communications market in recent years, mulled over and discussed in varying depths -- and in some cases it's been acted upon.
As a result, we've got too used to the rip-roaring debates about PBB/TE vs MPLS/TP and the minutiae of Metro Ethernet Forum (MEF) Ethernet definitions, slicing up what basically is bandwidth.
This is all great sport, if that's your thing, but it's hardly headline news.
However, the steady technological evolution of networks from TDM through to packet and now the mercurial software-defined networking (SDN) is now fueling debate like never before.
The gleeful revenge of the operators, as they look to take back the agenda from the traditional network equipment providers, is real and will fundamentally change how many think about architectures and services.
But what really sets this debate apart from previous ones is the way the cozy bit of banter between two old foes has been gate-crashed by a bunch of folk who not only have no respect for the fine art of telecoms, but are declaring that networks are too complicated and need to be completely rethought. (And that's if they thought about them in the first place.)
Now everyone is at it, with valuations that many of the "real" equipment makers can only dream about.
So where did it all go wrong, and what's next?
Some people are adopting a "better the devil you know" approach, while the telco traditionalists and vendors try to create new myths around the lack of performance of generic silicon and the sheer naivety of these new entrants.
But hang about, folks: During the past five years we've seen a bookseller with a Christmas rush problem become the largest cloud computing vendor in the world, a bunch of open source software cobbled together as the future of networking get sold for insane multiples, and the world's largest search engine starting to buy up fiber-to-the-home. They are akin to a bunch of unruly teenagers after their first drink. But ... they are exposing inefficiencies and busting myths through sheer bravado, ignorance and arrogance in equal measure.
The response to this is what some, but not all, have been doing for a long time -- be an engineer and be paranoid. If you see something and think it can be done better, faster and for less, then you're not alone. THINK hard and long about what it is you do and if change is working, embrace it.
But if you're not changing, you should ask yourself, how safe are you really?
— Matthew Finnie, CTO, Interoute Communications Ltd.