March 7, 2016
Appliance vendors have continued to stand their ground in that router firms simply can’t compete with their standalone products despite Cisco Systems Inc. ’s launch of a new router to consolidate telecom boxes.
Cisco introduced its ASR 1000 platform earlier this week, which is a router intended to also cover the jobs of deep packet inspection (DPI) gear, session border controllers (SBCs), and firewalls.
Other firms championing the idea of moving intelligence deeper into its products by more closely integrating session management and policy control in its products include Juniper Networks Inc. , and there is speculation that Alcatel-Lucent might be be considering this stance as well.
By letting routers handle these functions, enterprises and service providers say that they can get rid of standalone network elements that only perform a few specialized tasks.
IDC analyst Eve Griliches points out that “customers and service providers want fewer boxes in their networks,” and as such this can only be a good thing.
However, DPI and SBC vendors are doubting that embedded functionality can replace standalone products entirely, just one query being whether an integrated device can perform as well as a standalone device.
Kevin Mitchell, director of marketing at SBC vendor Acme Packet has stressed that while they may point out potential flaws, the product must prove itself by merit rather than simply being talked up.
“There’s a whole host of functions that, combined with performance, calls for a standalone network element,” says Mitchell, and that’s a major issue to be resolved.
NextPoint Networks Inc. chief marketing officer Mark Pugerude questions whether customers even want an all-in-one device.
“When carriers are looking at applying new applications across their networks they tend to buy opportunistically. They use best-of-breed products for critical applications and combine less important applications into one platform.” says Pugerude.
It may be standalone vendors’ claim that Cisco and others won’t be able to support the developing needs of customers, as it lacks their level of specialization, that puts the nail in the coffin in sceptics’ eyes.