RealTime IT News

Kriens: Vendors Need to Get Real

NEW YORK -- You can be good. You can be fast. You can be cheap. But you can't be all three.

That's the view of Juniper Networks  chairman and CEO Scott Kriens who kicked off the Interop show here with a keynote about putting the "Real" in real-time enterprise in which he took aim at bogus claims by vendors.

"At shows like this you can hear about that which is real, that which is promised and that which will never happen," Kriens said.

Some vendors may claim that you can be good, fast and cheap, but the reality, according to Kriens, is that enterprises can only really pick two of the three.

Kriens noted that enterprises need to optimize reality, which is usually a question of managing risk.

Depending on which type of risk, whether it's from competition, opportunity or growth, enterprises should pick the right two of the three (good/fast/cheap) that minimizes that risk.

"I can't change the fact of nature that I can only have two of the three," Kriens said. "But I can create a very responsive environment that I can change the two I pick based on the changing risk."

Kriens also addressed the next big thing in IT. That would be service-oriented architecture , he said, but even that's not without its problems.

"The problem is that it's kind of like Web 2.0; at some point the label doesn't mean anything because it means everything," Kriens said.

"We want more than just an IP infrastructure. We've got apps out there and we want to tie it all together."

"The online real-time enterprise is all about trying to take apps and marry them in SOA and create the notion of the real-time enterprise."

Kriens cited stats by Gartner that noted SOA will provide the basis for 80 percent of new development projects by 2008 and that by 2010, 1/3 of all software will be delivered as a service.

Unnecessary complexity is holding back SOA deployment. The key is to respect what Kriens referred to as natural boundaries.

"It would be nice if I could walk and swim and fly," Kriens said. "But just like as in nature, there are boundaries in networking between what we should do and where we should partner."

As a case in point, Kriens cited his firm's recent partnership with Symantec.

Kriens also used his keynote as an opportunity to take aim against vendor promises as being the best answer to all things.

"It's easy to put in a bunch of PowerPoint slides with a bunch of promises," Kriens said. "But it causes buyers to write RFPs asking for the impossible; they're asking for fast, good and cheap."

The end result is what Kriens referred to as an incredibly frustrating condition and a broken trust with buyers. Partnership and open standards are the key to helping restore that trust.

It's also important to listen to what enterprises are saying.

"You can't learn anything while you're talking," Kriens said. "The only way to learn is to listen."

When you invert and start with the answers and try and retrofit, it doesn't work, Kriens said.

"Let's do away with the PowerPoint promises. Let's develop a real understanding of what we're talking about, and from that we can develop some real answers."