When vendors are asked about their virtualization strategy they often give a certain answer. They say they’re “virtual” since they ported their software to Intel. What’s the value proposition? Porting to Intel isn’t it. At least is a step beyond a “single pane of glass”! Sure, it reduces capex, at the expense of performance. All it really does is shift industry revenue, power, and influence from the Broadcoms of the world to Intel. Plus, we now know that if capex goes to zero, less than 33 percent of CxOs’ top-of-mind business problems are solved. When pressed for the rest of their virtualization strategy, vendors say they run on virtual machines in a data center. OK, and then what?
Let’s assume they perform three functions called A, B, and C. They port them to Intel and then run them on virtual machines (VMs). Shifting revenue from Broadcom to Intel is a technical implementation detail and not a business solution. Service providers should be thinking, There’s got to be more.
The logical question to ask is whether A, B, and C are the right functions in the virtual world. Just because they were required in yesterday’s environment does not mean they are required in the virtual world. Do you really need 20 percent of A and 60 percent of B? Do you really need 150 percent of C? You get the picture.
Since service providers will be spending billions of dollars moving to the virtual world, they should be asking themselves why. Sure, there’s a benefit to taking the As, Bs and Cs of today’s world to virtual machines. But is it really enough? This is a once-in-a-lifetime transformation and a fight for ultimate survival. SPs need to ask for more.
Vendors, on the other hand, need to be asking themselves similar questions. Is porting to Intel enough? What can we do that’s game changing in the virtual world? The answer, in my opinion, to the first question is “no way.” The answer to the second question depends on the vendor’s core competencies, ecosystem presence, business strategy, et al. Vendors need to be able to articulate their value propositions without using the words virtual, open, and agile! They need to be able to articulate how their solutions solve real top-of-mind SP business problems. If they can show how their solutions impact pennies/share, they are on the right track.