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Big Switch: Networking Will Dance to Hypercloud Tune Next Year

I hate end-of-year predictions articles, and have been doing my best to avoid writing any through a strategy of ignoring emails and pretending that I have a poor phone connection when the subject comes up in calls. But I was talking to Big Switch about something else and they asked if they could send their predictions over and I had a moment of weakness and said "sure."

And darn if the predictions weren't interesting. So it looks like I'm writing an end-of-year predictions article anyway. Curse you, Big Switch Networks !

Here are the best of Big Switch's predictions for 2016:

  • The top five hyperscale players -- Google (Nasdaq: GOOG), Facebook , Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT), Amazon.com Inc. (Nasdaq: AMZN) and Alibaba.com Hong Kong Ltd. -- will exceed 20% of worldwide infrastructure spend, accelerating the trend where other network operators either follow their technology lead or outsource networking to cloud vendors.
  • As containers, IoT and NFV make networks more complex, the industry will reach a tipping point where manual network management is no longer possible, and programmable network control via SDN is needed.
  • By year end, only three independent SDN vendors will be left.
  • Bare metal will exceed 15% of ports shipped.
  • At least 10% of Global 2000 organizations will move from testing to deploying bare metal and/or SDN solutions.
  • Two more publicly held networking vendors will embrace a modern approach that disaggregates hardware and software.

On that last point: Juniper Networks Inc. (NYSE: JNPR), Arista Networks Inc. and Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) this year separately announced licensing that separate software licensing from hardware sales. (See Juniper Bets Big on White Box & NFV, Arista Offers Software à la Carte and Cisco Gives Its Software Licensing a Makeover.)

What do you think of these predictions? Big Switch is a bare-metal SDN vendor -- is their predicting momentum for bare-metal and SDN just a load of self-serving baloney, or are they keyed in to the industry trend?

And what are your predictions for virtualized networking trends (SDN, NFV, cloud), as well as New IP networks? Leave your predictions in the comments below or email them to me directly at [email protected]. And now for that "something else" I was talking with Big Switch about:

Remember how we told you that Big Switch was going to announce a big funding round the first week of November? (See Big Switch Scores New Funding Round .)

Remember how that didn't happen?

I caught up with our source at Big Switch and asked him, "Hey! What's going on?" He replied that the announcement was delayed. It's on for early January.

"We ended up extending the process given a couple of additional investors expressed interest in participating in the round just around the time we last spoke," our source inside Big Switch said.

Big Switch is set to announce its fourth round of funding, which the company plans to invest in sales, marketing and global expansion, with an eye toward an IPO in two or three years. Founded in 2010, the company has received three rounds of funding -- a seed and Round A and B, for a total of $44.3 million, with the most recent round in 2012. Investors include Bill Meehan, Greylock Partners, Index Ventures, Intel Capital, Kosla Ventures, Mark Leslie, Morgenthaler Ventures and Redpoint Ventures.

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— 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 [email protected]

Mitch Wagner 12/21/2015 | 10:11:41 AM
Re: All very interesting but.... Good points! I'll see if I can get Big Switch to clarify. 
[email protected] 12/21/2015 | 9:42:18 AM
All very interesting but.... These are certainly thought-provoking statements but... (PEDANT ALERT!) it depends on what Big Switch means by terms such as "worldwide infrastructure spend", "independent SDN vendors," and so on.

Worldwide infrastructure spend, in particular, is making at least one of my eyes twitch... data center infrastructure not including passive elements? (for example)

And re SDN vendors - who is and is not an SDN vendor these days? And does this discount the very real possibility that new startups focused on SDN will launch in 2016? 

 
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