A Technology Market Builder (in his own words) from a major networking vendor decided to publish a thought leadership article (in my sarcastic words) describing how Cisco’s embrace of complexity harmed the whole networking industry.
As with the similar post I published a while ago, I’m not picking on Brocade. They are approximately as good or bad as most other networking vendors. I just can’t stand people publishing such obvious nonsense on third-party web sites.
First, I haven’t seen a single networking vendor that would strive to make their products less complex. Every single one of them (maybe excluding a startup or two that ride on simplification message) happily embraces every single broken design or stupidity their customers face and try to solve it applying approaches straight from RFC 1925 sections 2.5, 2.6 and 2.11.
It is true, however, that Cisco was (so far) more successful than others, so what every vendor marketer is really saying is “I’m so jealous that Cisco can get away with this better than we do.”
Now for some individual gems from that article:
Ethernet and IP networking is embarrassingly complex
… coming straight from a guy working for a company that helped create Fibre Channel ;)
Network technology has changed very little since the late 1980s, with the exception of faster speeds/feeds and some additional protocols and features.
Replace ‘1980s’ with ‘1994’ and you have a perfect description of Fibre Channel. Anyway, I know I wrote a rant on the same topic after reading similar claims from another networking vendor, but can’t find it. Too bad, it would be time to kill this particular zombie.
I could go on an on, but let’s skip to the “solutions”:
Fabric technology, for both the Ethernet and IP layers, substantially simplifies networking.
Yeah, that’s why Brocade uses FSPF in control plane, while everyone else uses IS-IS, and Cisco uses FabricPath encapsulation while everyone else uses TRILL or SPB, and why Brocade implemented proprietary transport of STP BPDUs over their fabric, and proprietary VRRP extensions. And they try to avoid complexity so hard that they have multiple solutions for inter-DC fabrics.
Software Defined Networking (SDN), with network intelligence and control centralized for automation, advanced control, and integration of the network with business applications, will provide a layer of abstraction above network hardware.
SDN must be a huge buzzword with some vendors. This isn’t their first masterpiece on the topic, and it probably won’t be the last.