Hughes suggests that a decade ago, when functionality was really hardware-based, and network functionality was truly hardware oriented, there was a necessary refresh cycle. As a result, the hardware would become outdated and users needed to introduce either new hardware that would provide new features and new functionality at higher speeds, and different interface rates. As many these functions have migrated or are migrating to software, the refresh cycle becomes an artificial process, rather than a necessity.
These forced upgrades of appliances are creating a backlash, and Hughes believes this will drive the adoption of software-based virtual appliances, where users are able to choose what hardware to run it on, or upgrade that hardware in the same way as they upgrade all the rest of the server hardware in the data centre - basically in their own time schedule or a server client’s margins.
Hughes believes that a few elements in the data centre that will remain hardware as, so big Ethernet switches will be required beneath the switching fabrics, to connect physical hosts that are running on a virtual machine. Those switches need to continue to be hardware-based and need to continue to scale.
Most of the other functions that have traditionally been done by networking hardware, including security functions, optimisation functions, load balancing – perhaps even routing functions - can move from dedicated hardware into software environments.
David Hughes’ video may be seen here: http://blog.silver-peak.com/hardware-refresh-backlash-reaches-boiling-point-video.
About Silver Peak Systems
Silver Peak software accelerates data movement between data centres, branch offices and the cloud. The company’s optimisation solution solves network quality, capacity and distance challenges to provide fast and reliable access to information anywhere in the world. Leveraging its leadership in data center class wide area network (WAN) optimisation, Silver Peak is a key enabler for strategic IT projects like virtualisation, big data and disaster recovery.
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