Light Reading
Hard times are going to start around Christmas for many SDN startups.

Breakfast With... Pica8's Steve Garrison

Mitch Wagner
8/19/2014
50%
50%

You think the holidays are uncomfortable for your family? Be glad you're not an SDN vendor. Things are going to get ugly in the SDN startup community around the end of the year, and it's only going to get worse next year.

I had breakfast with Pica8 Inc. Marketing Vice President Steve Garrison, at Palo Alto Creamery Fountain & Grill, a classic 20th century diner in the heart of 21st century Palo Alto, Calif. We talked about the state of the SDN industry over eggs and coffee, and he shared his thoughts on why SDN is making life harder for startups. (See Pica8 Claims OpenFlow 1.4 First and Pica8 Adds Muscle to ABC – 'Anybody But Cisco'.)

The Technology
SDN has been unusual among emerging technologies, as big incumbent players were strong competitors from the outset, Garrison said. With most emerging technologies, startups have a two- or three-year window in which to develop before incumbents wake up and take notice. Not with SDN -- incumbents got into that game early on.

"There are so many incumbents in there with a story. It's not a great story, but it's a story," Garrison said. Busy IT managers, particularly in the enterprise, are likely to go with the safe, incumbent vendors rather than trying something new.

For startups, the "mudslinging" is against the incumbents, rather than each other, Garrison added.

And the healthy tech economy, with plenty of investment money to go around, has helped keep the startup culture fraternal and friendly.

Garrison uses a prizefighting metaphor to describe the state of the market.

"The big ring in Vegas doesn't have your two favorite fighters," he said. It's got the incumbents -- Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) and VMware Inc. (NYSE: VMW) -- fighting it out for the championship.

Sitting on the sidelines, in the front row -- "not the cheap seats" -- are the leading startups, as well as established vendors from other markets that are new to SDN: Arista Networks Inc. , Brocade Communications Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: BRCD), Juniper Networks Inc. (NYSE: JNPR) and Dell Inc. (Nasdaq: DELL), Garrison said.

These companies want a quick fight with a knockout blow so they know whose technology they have to be sure to work with. What they don't want is for things to continue as they are now, with Cisco and VMware sparring and even occasionally cooperating, dragging things out for a long time.


Find out more about key developments related to the systems and technologies deployed in data centers on Light Reading's data center infrastructure channel.


Interestingly, IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM) is no longer in the front row. IBM has been kicked out and now sits in the cheap seats, Garrison said.

Life has been good for SDN startups for the past couple of years, with investor capital flowing. That's going to change soon, and we'll see some companies get acquired and others just go out of business.

It's going to be a gloomy Christmas and 2015 for many SDN startups.

The Restaurant
When we arranged breakfast, Garrison asked me if I was up for a classic diner. I have only two answers to that question: YEAH, and HELL YEAH. Growing up in the New York area, I spent the best wasted hours of my life in diners. Those kind of diners are hard to find in California.

But the Palo Alto Creamery fits the mold wonderfully. Founded in 1923, the diner changed hands in 1988 and has had the same owner -- and same interior design -- since. Garrison says he's been coming here since 1989, and it hasn't changed.

Strictly speaking, it's not a true classic diner because it wasn't built in a repurposed railroad car. Then again, neither were the diners where I camped in years past, so I'm not complaining.

Garrison had chicken-and-apple sausage with two eggs. I went for something called a "hash brown pie" -- hash browns with lots of peppers, onions and melted cheddar, served with two eggs. My breakfast wasn't great, but it was good. You can't go wrong with fried potatoes, peppers, onions, eggs and plenty of melted cheese.

— Mitch Wagner, Circle me on Google+ Follow me on TwitterVisit my LinkedIn profileFollow me on Facebook, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading. Got a tip about SDN or NFV? Send it to wagner@lightreading.com.

(4)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Susan Fourtané
50%
50%
Susan Fourtané,
User Rank: Blogger
8/20/2014 | 3:21:05 AM
Re: Brought to you by Acura?
Sam, 

I believe a quiet place at a quiet time is much better when you are actually working during breakfast. The least you want is a crowded, noisy place where you can hardly hear what the person who is with you is saying, especially if Mitch was recording the conversation. 

-Susan 
Susan Fourtané
50%
50%
Susan Fourtané,
User Rank: Blogger
8/20/2014 | 3:12:28 AM
The breakfast series
Mitch,

I am loving the Breakfast with ... series. :)

The breakfast:

This is the second one I read and I believe I haven't missed any other in between. Super cool idea. The pics are nice, too. You should take pics of both dishes. :D 

The technology:

I found it surprising that IBM is no longer in the front row. It was sort of sad to read it now seats in the cheap sits. :( What happened there? 

-Susan

 
sam masud
50%
50%
sam masud,
User Rank: Light Sabre
8/19/2014 | 4:01:22 PM
Re: Brought to you by Acura?
Ya'll could have used more company--from the shot the place seems a bit empty to me. In any case, I would be happy to tag along next time.

On a more serious note, it may take a while for the SDN market to sort itself out because previously it would be one vendor raising a noise about its disruptive/revolutionary technolgy. Now we have couple dozen vendors shouting SDN, with some strong differentiation as to where they fit in the SDN taxonomy.

 
mhhf1ve
50%
50%
mhhf1ve,
User Rank: Light Sabre
8/19/2014 | 1:38:03 PM
Brought to you by Acura?
This story reminds me of Jerry Seinfeld's mini-series Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee... But it needs more cars. :) Nice to get a flavor of how startup founders/CEOs see their tech field growing.
More Blogs from Wagner’s Ring
It's hard to unite carriers and net neutrality advocates, but FCC head Tom Wheeler is reportedly working on a plan that'll do it.
Also: A gloriously complicated homemade answering machine from the same year, and flappers in 1922 make their own mobile phone.
New security features will make it easier for carriers to sell iPads to enterprise customers.
Despite recent shake-ups, HP remains committed to NFV, an executive says.
Enterprises demand performance and security in cloud applications that require cloud providers and carriers to work together.
Flash Poll
From The Founder
It's clear to me that the communications industry is divided into two types of people, and only one is living in the real world.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Interview With Rick Talbot, Principal Analyst, Current Analysis

10|31|14   |   2:12   |   (0) comments


At the NFV Open Cloud Forum 2014, Rick Talbot shared his positive feedback about the holistic and open approach that Huawei adopts for SDN and NFV. He also found the open sharing at the event valuable as it features different perspectives from Huawei experts, telecom operators, industry analysts as well as security experts.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Interview With David Snow, Principal Analyst, Current Analysis

10|31|14   |   2:24   |   (0) comments


David Snow talked about his understanding of Huawei and its SoftCOM strategy at the NFV Open Cloud Forum 2014, saying that Huawei's wide approach combining IT and CT expertise, introducing big data and analytics into solutions and contributing to the OpenStack community particularly resonate with him and make the company stand out in the industry.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Interview With Roz Roseboro, Senior Analyst, Heavy Reading

10|31|14   |   3:13   |   (0) comments


Roz Roseboro commented on Huawei's data center capabilities and NFV solutions at the NFV Open Cloud Forum 2014, saying that in addition to covering all three key domains of compute, storage and networking, the company also emphasizes the importance of management capabilities and professional services, which are essential in making NFV a reality.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Interview With Michael Howard, Co-founder & Principal Analyst, Infonetics Research

10|31|14   |   5:25   |   (0) comments


Michael Howard talked about SDN, NFV, and OpenStack adoption at Huawei's NFV Open Cloud Forum 2014. Particularly, he pointed out that Virtual Enterprise CPE is the top NFV use case that operators plan to invest in over 2014 and 2015 to deliver new enterprise services through virtualized functions.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Interview With Jerry Caron, Senior Vice President, Current Analysis

10|31|14   |   3:11   |   (0) comments


At Huawei's NFV Open Cloud Forum 2014, Jerry Caron from Current Analysis said that orchestration and management are key to realizing SDN and NFV for global carriers, and the approach that Huawei is taking, with its FusionSphere Cloud OS at the core, is in the right direction to address the challenges.
LRTV Documentaries
Broadband Battles

10|31|14   |   01:39   |   (0) comments


This year's Broadband World Forum featured a number of show floor battles focused on access gear, components and coffee.
Jonestown
Mobile Backhaul: Going to the Dark Side?

10|30|14   |   2:26   |   (1) comment


Heavy Reading's Patrick Donegan shares his view on a dark trend that bubbled up at Light Reading's annual backhaul conference in NYC.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
2014 Huawei Electric Power Industry Summit: Interview With CEO of SwitchCom

10|30|14   |   4:13   |   (0) comments


SwitchCom, an IT company based in Angola, recommends a variety of Huawei solutions and hardware to their customers in the energy industry.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
2014 Huawei Electric Power Industry Summit: Interview With Ethiopia's Ministry of Water Irrigation & Energy

10|30|14   |   4:08   |   (0) comments


Gosaye Mengistie of Ethiopia's Ministry of Water Irrigation & Energy discusses the collaboration with Huawei in that country.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
2014 Huawei Electric Power Industry Summit: Interview with Dongfang Electronics Corporation

10|30|14   |   5:46   |   (0) comments


Dongfang Electronics Corporation, headquartered in Chengdu, China, is one of China's largest manufacturers of power generators and contractors of power station projects.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
2014 Huawei Electric Power Industry Summit: Interview with Zimbabwe's Customers

10|30|14   |   3:31   |   (0) comments


Representatives of Zimbabwe's Ministry of Power and Development discuss the energy needs of their country as well as new areas of improvement due to enhanced ICT capabilities.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
2014 Huawei Electric Power Industry Summit: Interview With Colbún Chile

10|30|14   |   4:29   |   (0) comments


In Chile, an aging energy infrastructure was in dire need of a modern update. Claudio Valenzuela of Colbún discusses how Huawei's ICT solutions continue to provide crucial information to improve the grid and how an in-country engineer is a cricial asset.
Upcoming Live Events
November 6, 2014, Santa Clara
November 11, 2014, Atlanta, GA
December 2, 2014, New York City
December 3, 2014, New York City
December 9-10, 2014, Reykjavik, Iceland
February 10, 2015, Atlanta, GA
May 6, 2015, McCormick Convention Center, Chicago, IL
May 30, 2015, The Westin Peachtree, Atlanta, GA
June 9-10, 2015, Chicago, IL
Infographics
WhoIsHostingThis.com presents six of the world's most extreme WiFi hotspots, enabling the most epic selfies you can imagine.
Hot Topics
Microsoft's Skype Embraces WebRTC on IE
Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, 10/27/2014
FTC Slaps AT&T With Throttling Lawsuit
Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, 10/28/2014
Wheeler Gets Down With OTT
Mari Silbey, Independent Technology Editor, 10/29/2014
China's MVNOs Hit the Wall
Robert Clark, 10/27/2014
Let's Not Kill SDN & NFV With Silos
Francois Locoh-Donou, Senior VP, Global Products Group, Ciena, 10/28/2014
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed