Over coffee and bizarre breakfast sandwiches this morning, John McHugh, HP ProCurve VP and Worlwide GM told a few of us media types that virtualization is the big "disruptor" and "change agent" about to shake up the networking world.McHugh is hoping that disruption helps ProCurve sell more equipment, but he makes some compelling points about virtualizationï¿¼s impact. The networking market is controlled by a limited number of vendors, and hasn't changed much lately, McHugh said, with little consolidation and even fewer new entrants. But thatï¿¼s all about to change.
While everyone's talking about virtualization, McHugh said every vendor has its own stories to tell. ï¿¼Everyone has their own perspective on how it will happen, but none of us get to opt out.ï¿¼
"We believe a very open environment for virtualization will exist," McHugh said. "Customers will get the ability to break away from the one-vendor lock-in. For customers, virtualization creates a generic hosting environment for services and applications. "The applications and what they're running on don't have to have any pre-conceived notions of each other,ï¿¼ which means that networking capabilities can be acquired in a ï¿¼more low-touch, more heterogenous, non-capital intensive way."
Infrastructure choices will remain somewhat proprietary, McHugh predicted, but virtualization will deliver new choices on what sits on top of that. ï¿¼Right now,ï¿¼ McHugh said, ï¿¼you have a choice of a single vendor solution -- or the Wild West.ï¿¼
Virtualization lets you add software ï¿¼ not appliances ï¿¼ on top of the infrastructure. Thatï¿¼s much more like the x86 world, with real open-ness and more choice.
With all that, virtualization will be different for SMBs than for the enterprise. SMBs ï¿¼donï¿¼t want to be dazzled with technical brilliance,ï¿¼ McHugh said. They want buttoned down, clean implementations -- virtualization within the context of a plug and play solution.
The goal ï¿¼ whether the solution is coming from vendors or VARs -- is to pull out cost and complexity to get to exactly where each SMBs need it. ï¿¼Complex enough to handle their business needs,ï¿¼ McHugh said. ï¿¼And no more."