Archive for August 2013

All eyes are on San Francisco this week.  Why?  Because Colin Kaepernick is going to have the best season for a second year quarterback since Dan Marino’s magical 1984 season?  That’s a pretty good reason, but the pre-season still has a week left.

No, this week downtown San Francisco is overrun by 25,000 supreme geeks as VMware tries to convince everyone that the software defined data center is the future and other vendors look to align themselves with this message.

One of the vendors attempting to do just that is WAN optimization vendor Silver Peak. Yesterday, Silver Peak announced integration with VMware’s NSX network virtualization to create greater network agility. Given the trends in networking – the continued increase in virtual traffic combined with a shift to hybrid cloud architectures creates a need for greater network agility.

Survey says? It’s pretty much a two-horse race.

Close your eyes and queue up the Family Feud music and picture Richard Dawson (or Steve Harvey for you youngsters) coming out to another episode of the Family Feud game show: “A total of 329 people surveyed, top four answers on the board–Which vendor do you feel is the leader in voice?”

Player 1 responds, “Microsoft”.

“Survey Says!”–Ding! Microsoft scores Number 4 with 9.7% of the respondent base.

Player 2 answers “Cisco”–Ding! Number one answer with 62.3% of the market.

The other two answers are revealed, with Avaya holding the Number 2 spot with 17.3% and “Others” being number 3 at 10.6%

It’s the end of August, which means “Tis the season.” What season is that? It’s now the end of the summer, which means back to school for our kids. It’s also NFL preseason, so all of us going through football withdrawal are close to getting some real football soon – time for Tebow mania, the football equivalent of SDNs. But, for those of us in tech, the end of August means VMworld time. For me, it means my email inbox is full of messages from PR vendors wanting me to “stop by the booth” and check out the latest and greatest.

This week, Arista and ExtraHop got out in front of the impending noise and announced a strategic partnership between to deliver an integrated solution called the ExtraHop-Arista Persistent Monitoring Architecture. Despite the totally unimaginative name, the product should be compelling to highly virtualized organizations or those considering a move to a software defined data center – the obvious sweet spot for VMworld.

I hope Avaya uses this announcement as a starting point to raise the level of noise from its networking group.

Well, it’s now the end of August, which means it’s time for a few annual events to happen. The kids are getting ready to head back to school soon, so my wife has been doing school supply shopping. The Red Sox are in first place and about to collapse so someone else can win the division. And it’s time for the annual VMWorld event.

In tech, VMWorld has become one of the places to be seen. It’s like being at the MTV Music Awards if you’re an entertainer or the ESPYs in the world of sports. Last year’s attendance was about 20,000 people and it’s expected to be more than that this year. Why? Because virtualization has changed the face of almost every market in tech. In fact, it’s hard to think of a vendor that doesn’t have some sort of relationship with VMWare.

VMWorld kicks off Sunday and I’m expecting the typical deluge of news, as different vendors try and leverage the show for their own product announcements. Avaya this week jumped the gun and issued a press release outlining its vision of the Software Defined Data Center (SDDC).

Let’s roll back the clock 20 years and remember what was happening. Mark Zuckerberg was nine years old and learning to code on an Atari computer. Incidentally, I was a big Atari buff, but didn’t monetize it quite like the future Facebook founder. Whitney Houston held the No. 1 spot on the Billboard music charts with “I will always love you,” and Schindler’s List won the Oscar for best picture.

In tech, Cisco dropped a little under $100 million to acquire Crescendo Communications, which gave Cisco its Catalyst 5000 switching line as well as executives Luca Cafiero, Prem Jain, Mario Mazzola, Randy Pond and Jayshree Ullal. Also in 1993, Cisco introduced its Cisco Certified Internetworking Engineer (CCIE) certification to the world to create a high-level, elite certification for networking professionals. In many ways, it was the acquisition of Crescendo that transformed Cisco from a niche router company into a broad enterprise networking vendor. However, it was the creation of the certification program, and most notably the CCIE, that created the dominant network vendor that we know today.

It’s hard to look at Network World or any other tech site without seeing a bunch of articles on software defined networks. Over the past couple of years, we’ve seen almost every network vendor, large and small, lay out its vision for SDNs and then back it up with new products to support the vision. One of the vendors that has been absent from the SDN tournament, though, is Huawei – that is, until this week.

Earlier this week, the giant Chinese equipment manufacturer threw its hat into the SDN game with a new switch series, the S12700 Agile Switch, specifically designed for migrating to an SDN. There are two products currently in the Agile Switch line – a big one (S12708) and a bigger one (S12712). From my briefing with Huawei, it appears that these products will be focused on implementing SDNs across the campus network rather than the data center.

There’s rarely a company I talk to nowadays that doesn’t have some kind of bring-your-own-device, or BYOD, program underway. The most recent survey data from ZK Research shows that 82% of organizations now support BYOD in some form. Also, the majority of IT leaders I’ve talked to say that the pressure to implement BYOD is coming from multiple angles – C-level executives, line-of-business managers, and younger workers are among the most common.

BYOD can mean different things to different buyers and the challenges range from on-boarding concerns, network readiness, security policies and other factors. The top challenge, though? That’s creating a consistent user experience across the myriad of devices out there.

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