& cplSiteName &

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 Technologies (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        ADD A COMMENT
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 would give Amazon an opportunity to expand its technology/media empire – and stick it to Donald Trump. What's not to like?
Like Amazon before it, Twitter's core strength might be its platform rather than the service it's best known for.
The Aftershokz Bluez 2S lets you listen to spoken word audio or music while still hearing outside sounds, making it less likely you'll get smooshed by a car while walking a badly behaved dog.
Can you believe people still think open source isn't fit for business?
From The Founder
Cisco's Conrad Clemson, recently promoted to head up the company's Service Provider Apps & Platforms developments, talks to Light Reading's Founder and CEO Steve Saunders about how he's bringing cloud video, mobile and virtualization together to empower network operators.
Flash Poll
Live Streaming Video
Charting the CSP's Future
Six different communications service providers join to debate their visions of the future CSP, following a landmark presentation from AT&T on its massive virtualization efforts and a look back on where the telecom industry has been and where it's going from two industry veterans.
LRTV Interviews
Heavy Reading: The Web-Scale View

1|18|17   |     |   (0) comments


At Light Reading's 2020 Vision Executive Summit in Rome, Heavy Reading's former chief analyst Patrick Donegan shared insight from the recent web-scale operators report, which featured research on how web-scale operators view the market, the best web-scale companies to ...
LRTV Custom TV
Cisco's Cloud Scale Networking: Automation, Virtualization & Simplification

1|18|17   |     |   (1) comment


Cisco's Sanjeev Mervana outlines the latest innovations in networking technology at CES 2017 in Las Vegas.
LRTV Custom TV
ADVA Talks Innovation & the Future of Networking

1|17|17   |     |   (0) comments


Ray Le Maistre and Christoph Glingener, CTO of ADVA Optical Networking, discuss the current state of the industry, cooperation and collaboration, open innovation and the future of networking.
LRTV Custom TV
Cisco's Infinite Video Platform

1|17|17   |     |   (0) comments


Cisco's Infinite Video Platform allows service providers to deliver broadcast-quality video over IP networks. Infinite video supports many devices, from 4K TVs to tablets to game consoles. Join Cisco's Rajeev Raman for a brief tour and live demo.
LRTV Interviews
Masergy: Ability to Adapt Key for NFV

1|16|17   |   6:40   |   (0) comments


Speaking at Light Reading's 2020 Vision in Rome, Masergy's VP, Global Technology, Ray Watson, said agility is key to providing the mix and match NFV-based services that are driving business for the managed service provider today.
LRTV Interviews
Equinix: The Data Explosion

1|13|17   |   4:16   |   (0) comments


At Light Reading's 2020 Vision in Rome, Eric Schwartz, president of EMEA, Equinix, talked about how Equinix is helping its customers manage the influx of data today, and how it's preparing for a future filled with millions of connected IoT devices.
LRTV Interviews
Heavy Reading: The Changing Data Center Landscape

1|12|17   |   6:05   |   (1) comment


At Light Reading's 2020 Vision event in Rome, Heavy Reading's Senior Analyst Roz Roseboro talks about how virtualization is impacting data center evolution and how that evolution is affecting the relationship between service providers, data center operators and public cloud providers.
LRTV Interviews
Boingo: Prepping for Millions of Devices

1|12|17   |   5:07   |   (1) comment


At Light Reading's 2020 Vision in Rome, Boingo's CTO Derek Peterson discusses how wireless operators will address the needs of low-bandwidth and high-bandwidth apps at the same time, the need for more MHz, the impact of IoT and more.
LRTV Interviews
Comcast Shows Off Gig Gateway at CES

1|11|17   |     |   (1) comment


With its largest presence at CES in years, Comcast took the wraps off its long-awaited gigabit gateway and a new platform for managing the home WiFi network. Light Reading Senior Editor Mari Silbey sat down with EVP Chris Satchell to discuss the latest Comcast advance, and met with VP of Product Strategy and Development Andrea Peiro to walk through a demo of the ...
LRTV Interviews
Colt: End-to-End Key for 2017

1|10|17   |   6:21   |   (0) comments


At Light Reading's 2020 Vision Executive Summit in Rome, Nico Fischbach of Colt said having a multi-carrier, end-to-end service proposition is going to be key for 2017 -- and SD-WAN is instrumental in making it happen.
From the Founder
Cisco's Clemson on Mobile Cloud Video

1|9|17   |     |   (1) comment


Cisco's Conrad Clemson, recently promoted to head up the company's Service Provider Apps & Platforms developments, talks to Light Reading's Founder and CEO Steve Saunders about how he's bringing cloud video, mobile and virtualization together to empower network operators. "If you think about where we're going… whether it's a mobile application, or a video ...
LRTV Custom TV
VMware Telco NFV Solutions – Preparing for 5G & IOT

1|9|17   |     |   (0) comments


Shekar Ayyar, EVP & Corporate Strategy/General Manager of Telco for VMware, discusses VMware's Telco NFV solutions role and foundation for the Imminent Arrival of 5G & IOT.
Upcoming Live Events
March 21-22, 2017, The Curtis Hotel, Denver, CO
May 15-17, 2017, Austin Convention Center, Austin, TX
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
With the mobile ecosystem becoming increasingly vulnerable to security threats, AdaptiveMobile has laid out some of the key considerations for the wireless community.
Hot Topics
A Women in Comms Glossary
Sarah Thomas, Director, Women in Comms, 1/18/2017
Is Cable One Beefing Up for Slaughter?
Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, Light Reading, 1/20/2017
Google Security Lessons for IT
Curtis Franklin, Security Editor, 1/18/2017
Nokia CTO: 2017 Is the Year 5G Gets in the Field
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 1/19/2017
TV's Paradox: No HDR Without 4K
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 1/17/2017
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
Light Reading founder and CEO Steve Saunders chats with Sportlogiq CEO Craig Buntin about sports data analysis.
Eyal Waldman, CEO of Mellanox Technologies, speaks to Steve Saunders, CEO of Light Reading, for an exclusive interview about the 100 GB cable challenge, cybersecurity and much more.
Animals with Phones
Live Digital Audio

Playing it safe can only get you so far. Sometimes the biggest bets have the biggest payouts, and that is true in your career as well. For this radio show, Caroline Chan, general manager of the 5G Infrastructure Division of the Network Platform Group at Intel, will share her own personal story of how she successfully took big bets to build a successful career, as well as offer advice on how you can do the same. We’ll cover everything from how to overcome fear and manage risk, how to be prepared for where technology is going in the future and how to structure your career in a way to ensure you keep progressing. Chan, a seasoned telecom veteran and effective risk taker herself, will also leave plenty of time to answer all your questions live on the air.