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Winners are beginning to emerge for public stock market investors.
CSPs move slow, and they are moving very carefully here given the magnitude of the shift to cloud architecture. But for those truly disruptive players with "cloud native" VNFs, selling solutions to CSPs in the fashion they want (no proprietary hardware appliances coupled with proprietary software) a tidal wave of orders from the world's largest CSPs could come crashing in. A good problem to have for investors in these stocks!
I think there are success stories out there and successes in the making - these financial analysts are looking at the big picture and not seeing the kind of impact that a lot of us thought NFV/SDN would have in terms of bringing smaller innovative software companes to the fore.
It may also be that until there is an infrastructure in place to support VNFs and a process for onboarding them that is more universal, it's harder for smaller software players to make an impact.
We have box companies like Huawei telling their customers they don't want to sell them boxes, they want to provide services. (See Ian Morris' story).
My conclusion from just these two data points is that the big box companies have to develop (or buy) software expertise. Presumably they are doing so. Presumably that would mean that these new companies have to edge out competitors that are much larger, that are already working with customers on hardware/architecture, and that are already in the process of ingratiating themselves further by providing services and software.
So, unless the big box incumbents don't develop software expertise, or utterly fail with the software they supply, what's the opportunity for a new small competitor other than being bought by a big box company?
I'm an outside observer trying to make sense of all this. What do people closer to the business see?
-- Brian Santo
And before the Affirmed Networks' folks weigh in, Mike Genovese did mention that company's AT&T deal in his discussion.