A Practical Guide To Network Disaggregation

As many of you know, we recently published a cooperative webinar featuring one of our technical analyst groups, and one of our featured customers. Howard Holton, Chief Technology Officer of GigaOm and Randy Horn, Vice President of Engineering at Vyve Broadband, spent their afternoon with me recently to discuss some market trends of network disaggregation, and to discuss some practical aspects of network disaggregation in real world environments.

Watch The Webinar Replay

            We got some real interesting nuggets of information from some professionals on the front-lines that work with these products every day. I know some times in our day-to-day, we can get a little too “down in the weeds” and sometimes miss the forest for the trees, so I thought this would be a great opportunity to poll actual users, and to see what works and what doesn’t in the hopes of offering a perspective of a customer that recently went through the buying and deployment process.

            Per the title of our webinar, “A Practical Guide To Disaggregated Networking,” I really felt this webinar stepped away from the high-level messaging of open networking that can sometimes feel over reaching and high lofted, and focused more on the issue of how these methodologies can benefit the end user environment.

            Vyve Broadband was a great case study because they were managing three large disparate networks that were the result of company acquisitions, composed of different hardware and software products. As certain products were expiring or needing upgrades, they were looking for products that would interoperate with this mixed bag and ultimately provide a robust platform to continue their expansion.

            Randy walked us through Vyve’s upgrade process and how they eventually found IP Infusion, and his story can offer some lessons in what I feel is a typical research and deployment scenario for a customer of this size. His background working for large resource-heavy cable providers gave him a certain expectation of how to work with vendors, but like many in his position he was initially skeptical about working with anything less than a Cisco-level vendor support. In his research process, he had come to evaluate all the big-names and while there were other products that had the functional features he was looking for, he ran into some scenarios where the products weren’t supported or maintained as an actual commercial product, that were “dev-heavy” and that would require lots of management and configuration to operate.

            Randy eventually found IP Infusion, and with the help of RocNet Supply, managed to get it evaluated and deployed in very little time. In working with RocNet and IP Infusion, Vyve got the sort of top-tier support they were used to, and Randy really emphasized that he got the sort of attention that made him feel like “the belle of the ball.”

            RocNet was able to setup a complete testing lab for Vyve, and IP Infusion was able to deliver on product support and feature support on par with, and in some cases much better than, a comparable relationship with any major vendor. I think this scenario really shows IP Infusion’s market maturity, where our software product is what we do, and not just some loss-leader product in a complex product portfolio centered around selling networking hardware.

            Howard from GigaOm contributed some higher-level market messaging about network disaggregation. Being an industry veteran in many hands-on roles, and now as Chief Technology Officer for an analyst group, Howard has seen the network disaggregation trend ups and downs from many perspectives, and had some real sage opinions on a practical level about how companies can, and should, be evaluating open networking. Referring to GigaOm’s NOS Radar Report on network operating system vendors, he pointed out how IP Infusion is a market leader in real short company.

            For any customer evaluating disaggregated networking, market maturity will be a primary driver in their decision making: Nobody wants to trust important infrastructure choices on a fly-by-night operation, and our market space has seen its share of even very highly funded companies getting acquired—and even sometimes disappearing—after making a very visible splash using marketing dollars that should have been spent making actual product.

            I asked Howard what a network operating system vendor can do today to remain relevant and competitive in todays market place. One of his main messages is that familiarity will be the keys to success: Open networking itself is not necessarily anything new to the people evaluating it, but to have open networking products that look and feel like all the other networking products the industry is built on can ease the decision-making process. As both Howard and Randy pointed out, the networking industry is built on certain rules and standards that have been developed and used over time, and it’s a mistake to think any product that deviates too much from those rules will be successful.

            Indeed, Randy pointed out how IP Infusion’s ‘Cisco Like’ CLI made the transition very familiar and comfortable for him, and how that helped him get up to operating speed in very little time.

            The familiarity theme isn’t just limited to product look and feel, this comparison can also be applied to the customer/vendor relationship. Hearing about how our support structure was “just like the big boys” really speaks to IP Infusion’s value proposition to our customers, where they can expect support on par with any industry standard, and at the same time benefit from the boutique aspects of working with a smaller, more agile company that can be flexible to unique customer demands.

            Vyve Broadband isn’t the first company to highlight the importance of support—this is something I’ve heard from many of our industry and customer contacts while doing this customer program, and something I wanted to highlight with you today because this really speaks the most about what I think should be a core company trait, that I hope will continue to drive our positive corporate reputation in the open market.

            If you haven’t already, I’d like to recommend to everyone to see the webinar posted online. It’s important to see what our customers are saying, straight from them.


The complete webinar replay is available on demand via YouTube: Webinar: A Practical Guide To Disaggregated Networks IP Infusion

Vyve Broadband is online at http://www.vyvebroadband.com/

GigaOm and their Radar Report on Network Operating Systems is online at http://gigaom.com

Rochester Network Supply Inc. is online at http://www.rocnetsupply.com/

A copy of GigaOm’s 2023 NOS Radar Report is available on IP Infusion’s website here. https://www.ipinfusion.com/for-the-third-consecutive-year-gigaom-selected-ip-infusion-a-leader-and-outperformer-in-the-2023-nos-radar-report/

Contact IP Infusion today to learn more.

Kelly LeBlanc is the Chief Marketing and Product Officer for IP Infusion.