This excerpt is from a recent interview with Art Reisman and has some good insight into the future of bandwidth control appliances.
Are you seeing a drop off in layer 7 bandwidth shapers in the marketplace?
In the early stages of the Internet, up until the early 2000s, the application signatures were not that complex and they were fairly easy to classify. Plus the cost of bandwidth was in some cases 10 times more expensive than 2010 prices. These two factors made the layer 7 solution a cost-effective idea. But over time, as bandwidth costs dropped, speeds got faster and the hardware and processing power in the layer 7 shapers actually rose. So, now in 2010 with much cheaper bandwidth, the layer 7 shaper market is less effective and more expensive. IT people still like the idea, but slowly over time price and performance is winning out. I don’t think the idea of a layer 7 shaper will ever go away because there are always new IT people coming into the market and they go through the same learning curve. There are also many WAN type installations that combine layer 7 with compression for an effective boost in throughput. But, even the business ROI for those installations is losing some luster as bandwidth costs drop.
So, how is the NetEqualizer doing in this tight market where bandwidth costs are dropping? Are customers just opting to toss their NetEqualizer in favor of adding more bandwidth?
There are some that do not need shaping at all, but then there are many customers that are moving from $50,000 solutions to our $10,000 solution as they add more bandwidth. At the lower price points, bandwidth shapers still make sense with respect to ROI. Even with lower bandwidth costs users will almost always clog the network with new more aggressive applications. You still need a way to gracefully stop them from consuming everything, and the NetEqualizer at our price point is a much more attractive solution.
Related article on Packeteers recent Decline in Revenue
Related article Layer 7 becoming obsolete from SSL