Still, that internally coded environment must remain malleable and dynamic, ready to embrace change – both technologically and operationally.
“The worse vendor lock-in is when you yourself are the vendor,” Gal says.
But as software becomes the new norm in networking and IT, there are some who view the trend skeptically. It’s hard to beat hardware for performance and reliability, says Doug Comer, distinguished professor of computer science at Purdue University.
“Software is dangerous,” Comer says. “It’s annoying, inconvenient and time consuming. Software always degrades. Put more software in the network and you’ll see the (downtime) headlines. Haven’t you been paying attention? Are we crazy? Software is a drug; just say no. Stick to tried and true design rules.”
Comer may be stuck in the past, according to Brighten Godfrey, associate professor of computer science at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.
“Our only hope is a software-defined world,” Godfrey says. “How little hardware can we get away with? We know by example that the future can be brighter. The future of performance is software.”
ONUG co-chair Lippis concurs.
“No army that can stop this,” he says. “Software is where innovation resides.”
Sign up for CIO Asia eNewsletters.