“No one gets fired for buying Cisco”. Fear, uncertainty, doubt. Change. I wonder how much money is being spent right now by IT Directors who want to embrace a new way of working, who want to make their network more responsive, more agile and more cost effective, but who, when it comes to the crunch, run home to what they know.
Cisco know this of course. It’s why they spent the money to acquire Viptela. They get to be the perfect combination of cutting edge and safe solidity.
By taking SD-WAN mainstream in this way they are driving the adoption of the concepts of resilience and flexibility, and that can only be a good thing.
But there is a catch, and that comes in the guise of the UK infrastructure, and the inevitable disconnect between software designed and built in Silicon Valley, and networks built and operated on the other side of the Atlantic.
The market for connectivity in the US is different to the UK. They have not had a race to the bottom on price, and the inevitable knock-on effect on quality. They haven’t had to keep trying to squeeze every last drop of performance out of 100-year-old infrastructure.
Buy a business ADSL service in the US and you could easily pay $100 per month for it. And it would be good. 10mbps upload, low latency, no jitter, and if it breaks it will break – none of the gradual degradation in service that we have to deal with in the UK.
There’s nothing wrong with this situation, it’s just how it is, I’m not passing comment either way. But – and here is the point – in different situations you write different software.
Software designed and built in the US, by Americans with American infrastructure in mind, will not deal effectively with the unique challenges of the UK infrastructure.
And I’m not just talking about the challenges of Cisco software and “Good Honest Yorkshire Broadband” either. The BT and Nuage alliance has yet to take off. With the best will in the world taking someone else’s software, software designed to orchestrate network level events, and sticking it on top of a network that has been built with something else entirely in mind, is going to be challenging at any time.
And that’s just looking at it from a network perspective. How about from a customer point of view?
Imagine you go to your CEO and tell her you can save 20% or more on your MPLS. Great! Do it. But when you are stuck between software supplier, datacentre partner, and two or three ISPs, how do you know where the problem is when your Cardiff office can’t hear the other end of a voice call, or “the internet is slow” for the guys in Bracknell?
This disconnect between software and network layers is a real problem, whoever you are.
You don’t want to be stuck in the middle of multiple suppliers all pointing at each other, and that’s where you will be if you deal directly with a Silicon Valley giant. But let’s be clear, even if you opt to deal with a UK based VAR or reseller, THEY will still be having the same problem.
So, don’t just shift the headache on to someone else. Just because you can shout at them when the Runcorn office has a problem with their broadband, they will just be managing the same problems – either dealing with ISPs who don’t understand the issue, or trying to wrangle software dev teams in a different company and time zone, and be a small voice themselves amongst competing customers.
This is a real threat to the adoption of SD-WAN in the UK, and it’s something we are genuinely concerned about. If SD-WAN is done badly it will get a poor reputation, will be a massive opportunity missed, and it could take 10 years for the UK to catch up again.
Evolving Networks are unique. We write the software and we deliver the connectivity. We’ve been doing it for more than a decade. Full service, fully managed, SD-WAN as a Service – call it what you will.
Eleven years and counting. Developing software, building a multi-VNO network, creating the most advanced monitoring and orchestration ecosystem in the industry. It’s here, and it works – right now. We have over 2,000 installations under our belt, and all built on the power of the UKs leading ISP and datacentre providers.
If you want to realise the benefits of SD-WAN you need to be talking to us. One supplier, one resilient SD-WAN solution.