The HW/SW distinction might be losing steam
At least in the networking space, most of the major players in both the big iron and the appliance spaces are increasingly converging on a narrow set of merchant silicon and off-the-shelf processors. That pricing is still tied to HW is an artifact of pricing models and buying patterns.
If everyone ends up shipping on similar (and similarly-priced) hardware, then the distinction between HW and SW becomes a little bit less important. You need to have both.
Accordingly, people should be fairly clear about what they are looking to do and then keep the aperture for evaluation wide. Then narrow the field based on whatever criteria are important.
Mike Bushong (@mbushong)