Or in the words of Jonathan Davidson, Juniper’s executive vice president of development and innovation: “Pradeep dropped a bunch of truth bombs and stunned the entire audience.”
Sindhu, who serves as vice chairman and CTO, said he has had time to think about networking and come up with some predictions.
He says the rate of innovation by humans is determined almost entirely by the total amount of compute power, storage capacity, and network bandwidth resources available. But networking is special because by connecting compute and storage elements, it allows us to transcend the limitations that compute and storage always run into.
He stresses that his thesis about compute, storage, and networking isn’t just limited to the Internet. He finds parallels to the human brain where synapses connect neurons in a similar networking pattern.
“I believe compute and storage will collapse into a single type of element because computation ideally needs to sit right next to the data it is working on,” Sindhu said. “This is the primary reason that hyperconverged computing will become the standard way of doing things.”
He predicted that eventually, all networks will be built using only two kinds of elements: routers to switch packets and fiber-optic cables to carry signals over distance (with radio links for sort distances or mobility).
Sindhu likes to think about a network as a single, albeit complex, machine that has distinct properties than can be articulated and then designed within. Performance, cost, and agility are the three most important properties of this machine, with agility being the next frontier while continuing to improve performance and cost.
“Agility is the speed with which a machine can perform a function that was not anticipated when it was first put into operation,” Sindhu said.
Agility and More Agility
Perhaps the word “agility” is being over-used; Sindhu wasn’t the only one talking about it at Juniper’s conference.
Mike Marcellin, Juniper’s chief marketing officer, said, “Everyone is looking for more agility in their cloud infrastructure. It goes back to business agility.”
While the move to network functions virtualization (NFV) is a big change for service providers whose networks are their bread and butter, “most of them now have a vision for how they want the network to transform, Marcellin said. But he added that they’re “all over the place” in terms of how to sequence their changes and what functions to do first.
Juniper is working with each of its service provider customers to craft their NFV transitions. “In the world of software products, things are moving rapidly. We do Contrail releases monthly,” Marcellin said.