Five years ago we started Nicira to transform networking. It was clear that networking’s traditional operational model was not suitable for cloud datacenters: so we set out to increase flexibility, reduce operational complexity, and provide full automation through software. Today we are proud to announce we will continue this journey with VMware, the global leader in virtualization and cloud infrastructure.
Plain question and plain answer make the shortest road out of most perplexities.
- Mark Twain, Life on the Mississippi
Progress in the IT universe traditionally required new layers of complexity for every corresponding iota of capability (at least until some intrepid soul braved a new approach to remove the hassle). The movement from mainframe to client-server unleashed an innovation explosion, but also created fragmentation at the computing infrastructure level, resulting in a splintering of IT technical and organizational silos for decades.
For a good part of the last decade, one could be forgiven for thinking that the field of networking was on the verge of getting left behind, as all the attention focused on the development of networked applications. Whether it was Google, providing the world with Web search, monetized advertising, and a host of applications, or Facebook providing both a social networking application and a platform for third party applications, or Amazon providing IaaS and basically creating the Cloud Computing business - everything interesting seemed to be happening outside the "core" of networking.
The revolution in IT today is not about some 3-letter acronym or protocol or API: it’s how computing is built, delivered, and consumed. The fragmented, $3.8 Trillion vendor-centric approach of the client server era is giving way – perhaps with some kicking and screaming -- to a new infrastructure, software, and application model that is developer/user-centric…one that is elastic, mobile and, said plainly, a whole lot easier to deal with. Say what you want about cloud, but we are not reassembling the mainframe. Cloud operating systems like OpenStack constitute all the critical aspects of computing, and thus foster and integrate innovation from a range of players.
When I first started to hear about Network Virtualization maybe half a dozen years ago, I was a bit taken aback. After all, Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) had been around for decades, and I had spent a good part of the 1990s and 2000s working on the protocols to allow service providers (SPs) to build scalable VPNs. So I wondered how network virtualization was different from a VPN, and why was there all the sudden interest?
As the OpenStack community releases “Essex,” momentum is clearly building for the overall software framework. Of note, the Quantum (networking) module in Essex takes the networking capabilities to a new level of scale, security, and reliability. Nicira customer Rackspace recently discussed its new enterprise OpenStack cloud that is rapidly moving toward production. Today we welcome another new customer, DreamHost, to the party.
Last week I was chatting with our CEO Steve Mullaney as he animatedly described the challenges he faces getting "traditional networking" people to understand what it is that Nicira does. He's not alone in this - I've heard similar things from CTO Martin Casado and Marketing VP Alan Cohen as well. In fact, it's probably no co-incidence that a large percentage of the engineering ranks at Nicira come from some field other than networking - distributed systems and operating systems people are especially well represented.
As reported by Computerworld and GigaOm last Friday, Sony’s entertainment division started to move some of its cloud services from (the now venerable) Amazon Web Services (AWS) to a Rackspace managed OpenStack environment. After some media flurry, Sony confirmed it will take advantage of a range of environments, including AWS and Rackspace. Sony joins a growing list of large enterprises that are taking advantage of the benefits of an OpenStack cloud.