Interop 2012: Q&A, Saar Gillai, CTO, HP Networking

IT Pro spoke to Saar Gillai, vice president and CTO of HP Networking about OpenFlow and how a new era of software-defined networks could disrupt the entire networking industry.

It depends where the sunken costs are in the business. Most of the costs in the business are not in the hardware, they're in software. So, whether the software runs on the hardware, runs on the control plane, it doesn't matter, you have to test it and scale it.

Can they do this? It is possible but most of the sunken costs are, especially now where people are using chips from Broadcom and the like, is in software anyway. Whether that software sits in the control plane or sits in the switches.

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Look at controller architecture. People who have the devices usually end up with the control plane because people like to buy systems. If you go and get a bunch of switches from company x and a bunch of controllers from elsewhere it will not be as reliable as if you bought a system from a reputable player. There are reasons why these things cost.

There is this concept of "this is going to commoditise everything" but you have to look at what everything is made up of. Having said that, it will be disruptive. At the end of the day, things like this disrupt.

Red Hat built up a business based on Linux? Couldn't a similar thing happen in networking?

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There are a lot of similarities between networking and servers but there are differences as well.

Networking is where you are dealing with scare resources like bandwidth. It is a different system and so you can't just assume that the same thing Red Hat did with servers would happen in networking.

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