Archive for May 2012

I saw this recent white paper on the IDG website on why Citrix’s Netscaler ADC beats F5. It’s an interesting read that created a handful of inquiries from end-user buyers, channel partners and investors, but I don’t think it accurately portrays buying criteria. So, after spending hours on the phone, I thought I would summarize the results in this blog.

Citrix did make a few good points on the pay-as-you-grow functionality to scale on demand, but that’s really just an economic argument. The feature parity between hardware and virtual ADCs is a strong differentiator for Citrix Netscaler as well, although, I still believe nothing scales like hardware and the use cases of the software-base ADCs right now are limited to developers and mid market. As they start to work their way into cloud deployments I think that will become a bigger competitive differentiator for Citrix if F5 doesn’t adjust accordingly.

Yesterday, Google and Samsung announced a sequel to the original Chromebook launched last year. The idea behind the Chromebook is that it’s a device in a laptop form factor that is optimized for this cloud-driven, post-PC era that we now live in, and while it looks like a traditional laptop, there are several major differences.

First, the Chromebook does not run a heavy OS like Windows that can take what seems like half your work morning to boot. Windows machines are great when you first get them, but it seems like within months it’s the same old story with too many things being launched at start up, dragging the boot time on and on and on… Macs are better in this regard, but there’s still a lag between when you turn them on and when they’re fully ready to use. Google’s Chrome OS is a lightweight operating system that allows for almost “instant on.”

Another major difference is that the Chromebook does not have a resident hard drive. Instead, they have 16 GB of flash memory, which is faster for sure but is a far cry from the terabyte hard drives found in laptops today. The device does have two USB ports for external drives or other devices to be plugged in.

At the end of last week, Cisco’s OJ Winge published a blog announcing that the company would cease investments in its Cius tablet. Does this mean it’s end-of-lifing it or killing it as I’ve read in many of the press articles? No, it does not.

In fact, if you read the rest of the blog post, Winge states that Cisco would continue to support the existing base of Cius tablets (which is small) and make the Cisco-branded tablet available to a handful of customers that require a ruggedized, corporate-first tablet. With that being said, the fact remains that we won’t be seeing the Cius tablet in the hands of your doctor or at Best Buy any time soon as it’s not a big focus point for Cisco.


The Avaya ACE Codecamp Mini-Hackathon let members of the DevConnect program show their stuff.

Last week Avaya’s user group (IAUG) held its annual conference in Boston. Co-located with this event was the “Avaya ACE Codecamp Mini-Hackathon” sponsored by Avaya and co-sponsored by CRI, a systems integrator that is one of the many technology partners of Avaya’s DevConnect program. For those that don’t know DevConnect, it’s Avaya’s developer forum and is the most mature and, in my opinion, the best developer program of all the UC solution providers. Avaya has been working on this program for years and I believe it’s the company’s best opportunity to create long-term sustainable competitive advantage over Cisco and Microsoft.

The new logo and new attitude are nice, but the real key for Polycom is how well it executes on being a software company.

Today Polycom unveiled a new logo, new strategy and new attitude for how it goes to market. I think the change is long overdue and comes at an opportune time in the market. If you’ve followed my blogs you’ll know that I’ve been critical of Polycom over the past five years or so and I think the criticism has been well justified.

Polycom has had excellent technology over the years but has seemed content to let Cisco do the evangelizing of video and UC and then follow in its wake and be the alternative to Cisco. This actually wasn’t a bad strategy for a while as the market was a virtual duopoly. Did it do anything to help Polycom? Not really, but it didn’t really hurt the company either. Those that were “in the biz” knew who Polycom was, but it didn’t extend past that.

The concept of “software defined networks” (SDNs) has become all the rage in networking over the past year or so. Now, I do believe that the “mouthshare” for SDNs far exceeds the amount of money being spent on it, but it’s clear, from the inquiries I get from network managers trying to understand what SDNs are and if they’re applicable for their organizations, that SDNs will be here to stay for the foreseeable future.

The majority of the SDN push has been by startups, such as Arista, Nicera and Big Switch or lesser-known network vendors like NEC, but this week, the high-performance network specialist Brocade unveiled its SDN strategy, making it the first mainstream vendor to give product-level details of its SDN plans. Back in June of 2010, Brocade was the first traditional network vendor to publicly announce support for OpenFlow and SDN, so its product announcements show consistency with this strategy.

In the movie “Back to the Future,” Dr. Emmit Brown built a Delorean-based time machine that when the “flux capacitor” was powered with 1.21 gigawatts (pronounced jig-a-watts in the movie), it would allow someone to go back in time (or ahead). I just got back from this year’s Interop conference and it started me thinking about the past. So let’s set the old time machine to the spring of 1995 and we’ll attend an Interop conference. Remember those days?

If you can recall the really old days of Interop, the pre-Vegas days when the event was held in D.C., the purpose of Interop was actually network interoperability. During those days interoperability in the network was a huge problem as there were many competing protocols, such as Banyan-Vines, AppleTalk, IPX and a host of other network protocols. Additionally, there were many different connection types such as FDDI, CDDI, Token Ring and the like. So buyers went to the show to figure out what worked with what and how to actually a build a network. The John Chambers proclamation that everything would move to IP seemed a bit far-fetched and Interop was in its heyday.

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