Gartner Research

How to Determine the Openness of Your Network Vendor

Published: 06 October 2017

ID: G00340336

Analyst(s): Andrew Lerner , Danilo Ciscato


Open-networking solutions improve flexibility and reduce vendor lock-in. Although most vendors claim to be "open," there's no official definition, openness is not a binary attribute, and infrastructure and operations leaders need to discern vendors' level of openness across a wide range of products.

Table Of Contents
  • Key Challenges



  • Disregard Unqualified Network Vendor Claims of Open Networking, Because They're Inconsistent
  • Architect Networks Using Logical Building Blocks — Rather Than Single-Vendor, End-to-End Designs — to Ensure Modularity
  • Ask Prospective Vendors Five Specific Questions to Evaluate Their Openness
    • Question No. 1: How simple is the solution?
    • Question No. 2: How does the solution integrate with my existing network infrastructure?
    • Question No. 3: How flexible is the solution to manage?
    • Question No. 4: How modular is the solution?
    • Question No. 5: Does the solution decouple hardware from software and provide options for leveraging different vendors for the various elements?
  • Use Gartner's Model to Score Network Solutions in Detail From an Internal and External Perspective to Assess Their Flexibility
    • External View
    • Internal View

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