That's exactly what Heavy Reading Senior Analyst Stan "The EtherMan" Hubbard asked a panel of network operators during Ethernet Expo this week. The amount commanded by Nicira is made even more notable given that Ciena Corp. (NYSE: CIEN) currently has a market capitalization of $1.45 billion and Tellabs Inc. (Nasdaq: TLAB; Frankfurt: BTLA) is worth just more than $1 billion, noted Hubbard.
"That's a lot of money for just a few people … it makes me think, gee, I wish I'd been part of that!" said XO Communications Inc. CTO Randy Nicklas. "Clearly they [VMware] overpaid and sure there's hype -- where would we be without hype? -- but I think there is something in this in the long term to make networks simpler."
Michael Kozlowski, director of Product Management, Transport & Data Services at Integra Telecom Inc. , also sees SDN as beneficial. "There's a lot to be gained from SDNs," including driving down costs and "some good vertical applications" to be developed. However, he noted that a lot of the perceived benefits of SDNs are already possible with existing telecom technology.
Paul Savill, senior vice president of Transport & Infrastructure Services at Level 3 Communications Inc. (NYSE: LVLT), noted that SDN provides a "chance to change the way networks can be provided," but added, before any listening vendors got too excited: "Is 2013 going to be the year of SDN with lots of new innovative services? No."
But he's expecting SDN to make an impact in the longer term. "I don't think this is a bubble. It will work its way into our networks and drive innovation" in the next five years or so, he added.
For other SDN coverage from Ethernet Expo, see:
- Ethernet Expo 2012: SDN Is Nothing New at NTT
- Carrier Ethernet Has a Job for SDN
- Ethernet Expo 2012: NTT Wants SDN Standards
- Ethernet Expo 2012: AT&T on SDN
- AT&T Has High Hopes for SDN
- Ethernet Expo 2012: Adding SDN to the Mix
— Ray Le Maistre, International Managing Editor, Light Reading