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AI World Conference & Expo · Boston, MA · December 11-13, 2017

Archive for June 2013

Day 1 of Cisco Live was all about the branch and campus with the release of the Cisco ONE Enterprise Network Architecture, coupled with a bevy of new products, including a new branch router, aggregation services appliance, and access switches, including the Catalyst 6800 – a replacement for the long-lived Cat 6500. The 6800 replacement is significant as I’ve long felt that the 6500 is the “Joe Montana” of Ethernet switches. Montana won early in his career, in the middle, and, of course, went out on top as the greatest QB ever. However, all good things must come to an end and Montana gave way to Steve Young. Similarly, the 6500 is giving way to the Cat 6800, which should be around for well over a decade.

Day 2 of Cisco Live was kicked off by Rob Lloyd, and he moved away from the broader network and focused squarely on the data center. Since the audience is primarily a bunch of geeks, he unveiled the new Nexus 7700 before he covered the new architecture. The Nexus 7700 is a beast of a switch. If the Cat6800 is the Montana of switching, the Nexus 7700 is the Ray Lewis of switching, in that it’s one mean switch that takes no prisoners.

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All eyes are on Orlando, Florida, this week as Cisco Live gets underway. With all due respect to Interop, the show formerly known as Networkers has become the place to be if you want to learn what’s going on in networking, with over 20,000 in attendances this year. I don’t think anyone would deny the fact that virtualization has become a huge issue for not just server managers but also network managers. In fact, in last year’s ZK Research/Tech Target network purchase intention survey, we asked what technology product was consuming more time and resources compared to the year prior. Server virtualization was the No. 1 response, with over 31% of respondents showing just how big an impact virtualization is having with network managers.

Just a few short years ago, network managers couldn’t have cared less about server virtualization, as it was a technology that was used to improve the utilization of servers and had little impact on the network. Obviously, things have changed significantly over the past few years as the use of virtualization technology has expanded past consolidation.

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Back in the 60s, science fiction author Ursula Guin published a novel called “Rocannon’s World” in which a device, called an “Ansible,” would allow users to receive instantaneous or superluminal communications over interstellar distances. With this machine, users can send and receive any kind of message to a similar device over any distance without any delay. Seems like an Ansible would make a great unified communications device!

Well, almost 40 years later, Siemens Enterprise (SEN) announced its own Ansible at the company’s analyst conference last week in Denver. Ansible is the company’s all new, reinvented UC platform that is supposed to be significantly easier to use and leverages WebRTC to make it easy to deploy, as all that’s needed is a browser. Although any kind of public demonstration of Ansible is being kept under wraps, the company described as a new UC platform that can deliver better real-time engagement to increase employee productivity. Ansible will deliver a fully aggregated and integrated experience across social software, business applications, video, voice and analytics to deliver an exceptional user experience.

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Since the WAN and access edge are the typical bottlenecks that hamper performance of applications like video, SDN outside the data center might actually provide faster ROI.

Cisco Live! kicks off this week under the sunny skies of Orlando, FL with a record 20,000 in attendance. For networking professionals, this show is about as exciting as it comes. It’s like being a Chicago Black Hawks fan and seeing your team score two goals in 17 seconds to win a second Stanley Cup in four years. Well, maybe not quite that exciting, but it’s certainly a place to come learn what’s new in the world of Cisco.

Networking has been as hot as Hawks forward Patrick Kane over the past year, as every vendor is looking to take advantage of trends like Software Defined Networks (SDN) and virtual networking. Almost every networking vendor has retooled its data center portfolio to try and one-up the other guy.

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The acquisition of Composite Software furthers Cisco’s stated goal of becoming the leading IT vendor.

Cisco Live, the company’s annual user conference, kicks off this week in Orlando. Given the fact that CEO John Chambers has boldly claimed that Cisco’s goal is to be the #1 IT vendor within five years, I’m sure we’ll see “next generation IT” be a pervasive theme there. The goal of being the #1 IT vendor is certainly brash and may seem a little farfetched given the “IT” competitive landscape that includes the likes of IBM, HP, VMWare and Oracle.

The competitive landscape certainly may look tough given all of the other 800-pound gorillas, but Cisco does have a shot at IT dominance, as IT is in a state of change. I’m a firm believer that significant market share transitions only occur when markets themselves are in transition, and it’s clear that IT is in transition. We are moving from a very compute-centric IT model to mobile and cloud computing, which are both network-centric, and that’s Cisco’s big opportunity. Even virtualization today is becoming more reliant on the network, furthering Cisco’s position of strength.

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In networking, there’s no hotter place to be than in the data center. We’ve seen many of the traditional vendors attacking this marketing with bigger, faster and denser core switches, each trying to one-up the other. However, the startup activity has been at the top of rack (ToR) as these new companies are trying to disrupt the status quo with software-based solutions. Not software combined with hardware, but software running on an off-the-shelf switch from one of the many ODMs that are out there.

This week, Cumulus Networks came out of hiding with its Linux-based operating system designed for data centers where programmability is the differentiator. Cumulus, like other ToR vendors that came before it, such as Pica8, Plexxi and Pluribus, uses a “white box” and dedicates all of its development energy on software, leaving the hardware design to the guys who can do it faster and cheaper than a startup could.

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