Shelef is unperturbed. "The right thing for shareholders is to build the company's value," he says. "The market is growing very fast. If we become a leader in a big market, our value will be several times higher than it is now."
Shelef says that ConteXtream's products are being implemented by communications vendors that provide services to more than 40 million users on ConteXtream infrastructure. "We have many more opportunities than we can handle," he says. "We're now working simultaneously on four installations, and, just from the opportunities we know about, we' could be doing 14-15 installations. It's a real tornado, and we're in the middle of it."
ConteXtream currently has tens of millions of dollars in sales.
The SDN numbers also imply that some of the enthusiasm is unrealistic. As someone who has gone through one bubble, doesn't this sometimes frighten you?
"We feel the hype. Whereas I once had to chase after people to explain what I'm doing, now everyone want to talk to us, initially to learn. I don't think that there is a chance that this will completely disappear, but there is no doubt that as in every hype cycle, expectations at this point are far more aggressive than what will happen. Things won't change overnight, and we'll reach the stage of disappointment. But I think that we'll emerge on the other side, and we'll see a new world."
"It's not worthwhile for them"
SDN Central estimates that there are currently 225 companies in the SDN sector, compared with none in 2009. It forecasts that the market will grow from
The great concern about the forecasts for SDN is over the veteran equipment vendors and their attempts to avoid the change. All in all, when a giant company like
Forecasts predict that it will take time before we'll see widespread implementation of the technology. Do you have the stamina to last?
"The reason that the big companies haven't trampled us is that all the leading companies have more to lose than to gain if they make an aggressive move on SDN. The leading vendors know what to do, it's simply not worthwhile for them. They cannot be too aggressive, because that will damage their business performance. This gives us an edge, for a certain time."
Despite many attempts,
"I don't see it that way. Israeli engineers at
Taking the smart part out
The development of the Internet in the 1960s and 1970s did not envision its current use. Its basic protocols were designed to create an alternative communications system, with a limited and controllable range of users. Over time, equipment vendors have had to add many layers to provide more efficient and secure data transmission, which completely changed in the web era. Without these solutions, such as network security or sophisticated allocation of bandwidth, the Internet would be unable to meet the demands now placed on it.
The disadvantage is that a huge operational and aesthetic mess has resulted in network cores, vendors try to keep their customers and prevent them from switching to other vendors, and the flexibility of customers -- giant telecommunications and computing companies -- in improving the efficiency of their services requires constantly growing expenditures. SDN makes it possible to make communications equipment -- the huge monolithic cabinets at the heart of communications services providers' computer systems -- programmable and thereby more efficient and cost effective.
Technically, SDN separates the designated hardware layer, which handles incoming and outgoing information packets on switches and routers (known as the forwarding plane), from the "smart" part of these systems (the control). Infrastructures, such as those of ConteXtream, sit on standard servers (such as servers based on
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