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Open-source networking doesn't require a guru

Open-source networking doesn't require a guru

Vyatta CEO and chief strategy officer on the open source router company

What are customers' biggest reservations about going with an open source networking product?

Herrell: Change. And I would qualify that by saying that in any market there are different types of adopters. For those who are resistant, that's fine. We'll evangelize and proselytize, but we won't try and force someone to do something they don't want to do. Our job has less to do with dealing with objection and more to do with understanding where the pockets of adoption are.

Roberts: I think everyone gets what we're doing. We haven't talked to anybody that doesn't get it or doesn't see some benefit in it. I've had major Fortune 500 corporations saying, this is really interesting. They've also followed that by saying, I'm not sure I'm ready for it. I'm not sure our organization is ready for it, but I understand it and I understand the benefit of it.

What do you tell CIOs when you talk about Vyatta's road map?

Herrell: We tell them we've got our 1.0 release out there and that 1.1 is around the corner. They should expect it to look like any commercial product. And from that perspective, the road map includes feature advancements and performance enhancements. What is new is the way we come up with the definition of what needs to be in those incremental advancements. That's where we get to leverage the community. We get to leverage their insight and their requests. We don't build something because we think it's a neat-o idea. We build something because the market is telling us they want that.

So who is ready for open source routing?

Herrell: The first adopters are generally categories, are organizations with nimble budgets and nimble deployment models. Who fits under that? Well, SMBs, service providers. People who aren't going to require a long, protracted formalized product review, but rather, a customer that will say, hey, I have a need. You have a solution, I'll plug it in. If it doesn't work I'll take it out.

Roberts: These are typically organizations where there is some empowerment by technical people to make decisions. As opposed to large central planning committees for technology buying.

Herrell: Yes, Stalinist regimes need not apply. But back to what Dave said, I haven't heard any senior IT manager or CIO say, no-way, no-how. What they say is, it's interesting, I'm going to watch this. The bottom line is, no wonder it's interesting, it has two basic advantages -- economics and control. How do you say that's not interesting? If you say, I have a very significant network budget, and you can stretch that farther. Or, if it gives customers more control over what I deploy, how I deploy it, and when I deploy it. Those are good things. Customer A might say I'm taking a wait-and-see attitude, but I don't' disagree with the approach.

For organizations that are in wait-and-see mode, what do you think they're waiting to see?

Herrell:I think the funny thing is that what they need to see already exists; we're just in the process of communicating to them that it does exist. What people like to see is that somebody else has done it. It turns out that a reasonably good-sized number of organizations have already done this, and now have production networks running Vyatta. And it's up to us to explain that and show the proof, if that is the pressing item for them. For the most part, I think that's it. We don't get resistance to the idea; they just want to make sure they're in good company.


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