Network Infrastructure

Change is a Constant at Three Leading Infrastructure Suppliers

By Paula Bernier, Executive Editor, TMC  |  December 04, 2014

Things just keep getting more interesting for the routing and switch vendors as they continue their move to capture market share in the new software-centric, virtualized world. That seems to be especially accurate for Brocade, HP, and Juniper Networks, which are neck-and-neck for second place in the enterprise networking and communication market.


At the moment, Brocade ranks No. 2 in the enterprise network and communications space, according to Infonetics Research (News - Alert) data released in July. And the company continues to draw interest – and a fair amount of talent – in the hot new NFV and SDN arenas.

Just last month Brocade revealed that Kevin Shatzkamer, a veteran of Cisco (News - Alert) (the No. 1 player in the enterprise network and communications space), has come aboard as a distinguished engineer and CTO of mobile networking. Shatzkamer has more than 50 mobile networking patents granted or issued, co-convened the Open Web Alliance, and has authored a couple of networking books.

Shatzkamer recently noted that Brocade is “aggressively seeking to disrupt the networking industry” and has done some important acquisitions and “assembled a high-caliber team to do just that."

Indeed. Brocade’s other recent notable hires include those of Colin Dixon, Tom Nadeau, and Benson Schliesser. In May, former IBMer Dixon joined Brocade as principal engineer. Now a Brocade distinguished engineer, former Juniper employee Nadeau is a leader of the OpenDaylight Project and OpenStack initiatives, and an active member of the Internet Engineering Task Force. And Schliesser, who is a veteran of both Cisco Systems and Juniper Networks, also now serves as a Brocade distinguished engineer.

In September Brocade, which bought Vyatta (News - Alert) a couple years back, unveiled its OpenDaylight-based SDN controller. In addition to its efforts on the enterprise front, Brocade has been working closely on NFV and SDN with some of the world’s leading service providers, including Telcordia (News - Alert).


Things have been pretty interesting lately at Juniper Networks, an early entrant to the NFV and SDN space via its Contrail acquisition, as well.

Not only has the company’s approach to NFV and SDN reportedly created discord within its engineering ranks, but early last month Juniper’s CEO Shaygan Kheradpir resigned unexpectedly after being asked to leave for “his conduct in connection with a particular negotiation with a customer.”

Kheradpir, who joined Juniper in January from Barclays PLC, has been replaced by Juniper veteran Rami Rahim, the former executive vice president and general manager of Juniper Development and Innovation. Juniper leadership has reportedly been pressured by a couple of its large investors to lower costs and sell or spin off some of its businesses in an effort to boost its long lagging stock price, so Rahim will have to contend with that.

Meanwhile, Juniper continues to move forward with its NFV and SDN strategy. The latest addition on this front to its portfolio is the vMX 3D Universal Edge Router, a software-only solution version of its flagship product that can run on industry-standard x86 servers. The company last month also unveiled Contrail Cloud, an OpenStack-based software platform for cloud resource orchestration that addresses compute, network, storage, and virtualization. It was designed to enable service providers to expedite the turn up of OpenStack data center platforms and quickly drop applications from Juniper and others into those data centers.


Speaking of spin offs, that’s the strategy at HP, which recently announced it is breaking in two.

The half that’ll be a player in the NFV and SDN space is called Hewlett-Packard Enterprise. It will sell the company’s OpenStack Helion cloud platform, networking, servers, storage, and services and software.

HP is working closely with companies including 6Wind and Intel, which are leaders in DPDK, a technology that can improve packet-processing performance by multiples (up to 10 times, according to Intel). And just last month HP formally announced a partnership with Wind River (News - Alert). The companies are working together to develop solutions with HP Helion OpenStack technology to enable carrier-grade NFV capabilities. Key areas of focus for this effort include manageability, performance, and reliability.

The company offers an array of blade, rack-mount and workload optimized (Moonshot) servers for demanding applications in enterprise and carrier networks. That includes hypervisors and operating systems; an OpenNFV Reference Architecture platform; and what HP calls the industry’s leading NFV, SDN and OpenStack platform. The company also has created a growing ecosystem of infrastructure partners.

Edited by Maurice Nagle