In the past the networking division of a System Integrator sold hardware first and software second. The majority of network switches at layer two were developed using FPGAs with proprietary hardware with CPUs used to develop layer three solutions. Any bundled software was poorly architectured and typically served either as element management or some type of network management. The basis of how it all works has been around since the seventies. All the has happened is that networking has become more complex and simplicity is required.
Read the article over at LinkedIn here.