I gave a presentation at the NY Tech Summit a few weeks ago on multipath Ethernet. I was going to talk in some detail about the standards-based approaches to multipath Ethernet, IEEE Transparent Interconnection of Lots of Links and the IEEE Shortest Path Bridging. I had about 50 people in the room and asked, "With a show of hands, who really wants standards-based networking in their data center?" Ten hands went up. I then asked, "Who really wants proprietary networking?" and no hands went up. I finally asked, "Who doesn't care--you just want something that works?" Amid chuckles, most of the people raised their hands.
Intuitively, I figured that would be the response. Some people care about standards. Many don't care that much about standards. But everyone wants products that work. When I got to a slide titled "Proprietary Protocols: proprietary is not a four letter word (duh)," it got some chuckles.
Any protocol that is not standards-based is by definition proprietary and includes tweaks that violate an existing standard. There are lots of cases where proprietary technology out-performs standards-based technology. Meru's handling of Wi-Fi spectrum, which reviewers noted in 2006, is one example of a vendor playing with standards to favor their product over others--in this case, with Meru being too aggressive in accessing the airspace. If you had Meru's products, you had better performance.