Musings from the Cold Aisle
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Musings from the Cold Aisle
No Limits Means Saying No to Lock-In
Aug 22, 2014

The theme of VMworld this year is “No Limits.” Personally I think this a great theme because at Juniper we’ve always believed the network should have no limits—within reason of course. While this may seem logical, some of our competitors haven’t always felt that way. Let me explain. 
If you think about it, there are really two types of limits: the natural kind, which are dictated by physics or some other natural law; and the artificial kind, imposed somehow by human beings.  
There’s not much you can do to overcome natural limitations. I’m never going to run a sub-4 minute mile, no matter how much I train. Off the shelf silicon will never pass as many bits as the purpose-built silicon we use in our high-end routers. These are natural limitations that are either accepted or worked-around.
Artificial limits on the other hand are typically implemented for a reason. Cars have governors to stop them from going faster than their tires or drivers can handle. That’s a good limitation. Other artificial limitations are implemented for less altruistic reasons. Some networking companies for example, offer solutions that have limited interoperability, limited support for standards, limited future-proofing or limited backwards compatibility. What could be the reason behind such limitations? 
Well, it’s pretty obvious: if you limit the standards your networking gear supports (in favor of proprietary protocols), your customers have to buy more of your gear to get the features they want. If you limit backwards compatibility when new technologies or capabilities are introduced, customers are forced to buy new gear to get the new capabilities. In other words, if you are an incumbent network vendor, limitations are a great way to enforce a cycle of proprietary lock-in. Great for the supplier, not so great for the customer. 
At Juniper, we’ve never believed in imposing artificial limitations at the expense of our customers. Openness, investment protection and forward-looking designs have been Juniper hallmarks since Day One. We have to, because despite all our successes and innovations, we are still the challenger. We have to win your business the hard way: on innovation and the value of our products.
I’ll give one recent example: SDN. It’s well-known we have our own SDN solution—Contrail— which is based on proven networking standards, yet we have also a very strong partnership and deep integration with VMware’s NSX offering. In fact, we have collaborated with VMware in several areas—including physical to virtual interconnectivity, integrated management, and intelligent analytics—which will be shown in our booth at Vmworld (for more info, please read @MohiniDukes blog) Our competitor has not been so open—with a proprietary architecture and a public war of words in the press. 
We're excited about our customers' journey to the cloud. If you're interested to hear more, you can register for a webcast on Sept. 9 where these customers will be sharing their stories.  And if you’re visiting VMworld to learn how to evolve to a “no limits” cloud, you owe it to yourself to ask whether your old network is holding you back. If the answer is yes (or maybe), stop by and talk to us in booth #735.