Archive for May 2013

This morning, Cisco agreed to acquire JouleX, a software company that helps IT organizations power the management capabilities of their IT infrastructure from the data center to the desktop and everywhere in between. The purchase price is reported to be $107 million, which is just a drop in the hat for the cash-rich company that has acquired a veritable cornucopia of software companies this year.

The first and most obvious fit for JouleX is complementing Cisco’s “EnergyWise” initiative. EnergyWise has been increasingly important for Cisco as it raises the value of the Cisco network and opens up new buying centers. Earlier this year, after Cisco Live Europe, I posed this slideshow looking at some of the more interesting Cisco partners at the event and several of the vendors were specifically related to energy management.

The joint solution is aimed at giving service providers the capability to monitor and adjust policies for UC applications, specifically video.

The mania and hype around software-defined networks is at an all time high. It reminds me of Wrestlemania IV when Macho Man Randy Savage partnered with Hulk Hogan and the Mega Powers united and achieved a level of hype never seen before in the WWF. Unlike SDNs though, The Savage/Hogan tandem actually delivered and both went on to win several WWF belts (although Savage and Miss Elizabeth are both dead now…).

The reason I say this about hype is that most companies I talk to couldn’t give two hoots about SDN. Additionally, most application developers really have no concept of how to leverage an SDN to build more intelligent applications.

Those of you in my age demographic might remember an old, cheesy game show called “The Dating Game” with an even cheesier host named Jim Lange. On the show, bachelors and bachelorettes answered totally pointless questions to measure their compatibility with one another. It was a TV game show version of, if you will.

However, sometimes it’s not just people that need help connecting to one another and finding the best match, it’s also devices. Ever try to hop on a wireless network and get frustrated because your device always seems to pick the wrong access point? It happens to me a fair bit. When I’m at Logan Airport, which is far too often, my MacBook always tries to connect to “Logan WiFi” instead of “United Club” when I’m in the Red Carpet Club, even though the signal quality of the United Club AP is clearly better. Even when I’m at home, my devices sometimes try to connect to my neighbor’s AP instead of the AirPort sitting under my desk, and I have to manually reconnect to the right AP. This can be annoying to tech-savvy workers, who are forced to continually pick the right AP, to downright productivity impairing for less technical folks who don’t feel comfortable changing settings or simply don’t know they’re connected to a sub-optimal AP.

The saying “Go Big or Go Home” was clearly taken to heart this weekend for Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer, as was evident in the company’s $1.1 billion cash deal to acquire the blogging platform Tumblr. As part of the deal, current Tumblr CEO David Karp will stay on and run Tumblr, which will remain an independent company, according to the Wall Street Journal.

When Mayer took over Yahoo, one of her goals was to make the company brand appeal to a younger audience. Some might consider the $1.1 billion price tag overly steep for a company that did $15 million in revenue last year and is expected to do $100 million in 2013. In fact, I’ve seen some articles calling this a desperation move for Yahoo, and I completely disagree with that statement.

Appealing to the Microsoft audience with “we’re better” or “we’re cheaper” doesn’t work, as that buyer doesn’t care. Ironically, it’s why Cisco wins in networking.

Everyone loves a great rivalry because it brings out the best in both sides. Red Sox-Yankees bring us great fall baseball; JR Ewing-Cliff Barnes raises the level of evil to new heights; and without Thomas Edison and Nikola Tesla we may not have the band AC/DC. Well, in the UC industry, we’ve got Cisco-Microsoft.

Both offer us great UC platforms and if the two would simply get along and commit to working together, they would completely own the UC space–but that would be like asking Jay Leno and David Letterman to co-host a late night show to dominate the ratings. Makes sense on paper, but it’s not practical.

The interesting thing about chili con carne is that you can have variations in the flavor and quality of the food depending on how the different ingredients are tweaked and mixed together. The same thing can be said for tech companies. Bring in a new CEO, tweak a few things, and get different results. The Mike Klayko era of Brocade is now in the books, and its time for the newly appointed CEO, Lloyd Carney, to make this version of Brocade his own. It appears he is doing so by looking ahead and not back.

This week, I was at Brocade’s reseller conference, where the theme of the event was “Think Forward.” The message here to the Brocade partners is that they need to look ahead to where networking is going to be and align their sales strategies accordingly as the tactics that worked in the past may not work so well when we’re through the current market transitions, particularly in the data center.

There’s a Katy Perry Song called “Waking Up in Vegas” in which the young Miss Perry sings “Shut up and put your money where your mouth is / that’s what you get for waking up in Vegas.” That first line, “Shut up and put your money where your mouth is,” should be the theme for Interop. Vendors all across the network market come to Mandalay Bay to show off their latest products and impress buyers, channel partners, media and Wall Street. The following is a list of vendors that I thought did indeed put their money where their mouth is (listed alphabetically):

Arista: Putting your money where your mouth is can be difficult most of the time, but it’s even more difficult when the mouth belongs to the enigmatic Doug Gourlay. For those of you who aren’t familiar with Doug, he’s the marketing equivalent of Terrell Owens. He talks a lot, but normally delivers. Arista and Doug are constantly yapping about performance and the new 7500E Data Center switch certainly didn’t disappoint. This is one monster of a switch with off-the-charts high-speed port density. In a quarter rack, the 7500E has a port density of 1,152 10 Gig-E ports, 288 40 Gig-E ports, or 96 100 Gig-E ports. Remember, these densities are in a quarter rack. The product is also optimized for the virtual data center with VXLAN termination and a bunch of other features.

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