August 7, 2014

Open vs Proprietary? A Question of Practical Philosophy

 Within our industry, there is a growing divide between two schools of thought; between those companies that believe that the future of the network lies in openness, and those that think a proprietary approach is the compelling way to go.

Many readers will pause here and say âHang on⦠That debate is over. Everyone knows that customers want open standards!â And that highlights an important point.  Customers do, by and large, want openness. Vendors have recognized that preference and highlighted their membership in various open communities. No vendor has leapt forth and insisted that closed is the way to go. The tension is more complex; it is between open-and-fully-interoperable, and ostensibly-open-yet-proprietary.  The question of interoperability will clearly impact how your network and your business will be able to function and evolve in the long-term.

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In essence, the open approach is based on the belief that, in order to truly align an enterpriseâs infrastructure strategy with its business requirements, customers must be free to choose the solutions that best meet their specific needs, regardless of which vendor builds them. In order for this âbest of breedâ approach to work, technologies must be â not just based on open standards â but genuinely interoperable, giving customers the option to bring in specific products and components as their needs evolve and change.

 

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