Malagrino says Layers 2 to 3 and Layers 4 to 7 are quite different markets. Cisco Systems, for instance, dominates in the L2 to L3 market, while other vendors, such as F5 Networks and Riverbed, have significant share in the L4 to L7 space.
In other words, same planet, different worlds.
"When you look at what it takes to virtualize and scale network service functionality, you need to build an architecture that's much more about scaling compute than it is about scaling the network capacity," Malagrino says about the L4 to L7 layers. "So Nicira is doing some very interesting things in the realm of scaling Layer 2 and Layer 3, but when it comes to scaling network services, it's going to be a different animal."
Nicira responds that there is plenty of room for everyone to jump into the pool.
"It's called a Network Virtualization Platform," says Nicira CEO Steve Mullaney. "We're going to create a platform with APIs, and we're going to be able to go partner and create an ecosystem of other partners who will be able to program in [additional services], including maybe people like Embrane. We haven't talked to them, but my guess is there's going to be a long tail of ecosystem partners."
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