Archive for September 2013

This morning, Cisco announced its intention to acquire Whippany, New Jersey-based WHIPTAIL for $415M. For those who don’t know WHIPTAIL, the Cisco press release describes the company as a leader in “high-performance, scalable solid state memory systems.”

However, if you look at the WHIPTAIL website, the company describes its products as “The First Family of High Performance Storage.” So, which one is it? Well, both really, as the company offers highly scalable, flash-based storage arrays, and if you look at the specs on these products, they’re fast. How fast? Well, WHIPTAIL can move data faster than the Buffalo Bills can choke away a fourth-quarter lead (I included this just for Duffy). I think Cisco is being careful in its choice of words, but I’ll get to that in a bit.

First, the WHIPTAIL products – the company has three main products to its storage family. The high-end system can scale up to 360TB of storage at 4 million IOPS. The low end of the product line is a product that ranges from 3-12 TB at 250K IOPS, so it has quite the range of from the low to high end. These systems aren’t designed to replace massive enterprise storage systems but rather to be used where speed of storage is critical. Bare metal applications, video transcoding and analytics, such as HANA, come to mind. The continued growth of digital content combined with the Internet of Things will increase demand for big data and analytics, requiring faster-performing data access, which is the value proposition of WHIPTAIL.

It’s been about a week since VMworld ended and we’ve all had time to digest the event and the implications for the IT industry. This was VMware’s 10th VMworld conference, and the milestone show certainly didn’t disappoint as the almost 25,000 attendees were treated to many new products and themes from VMware and its partners. I thought the show contained many subthemes to the high-level theme of “virtualization,” but many questions still linger. From my perspective, these were the main themes and the questions still left unanswered:

  • Networking. The show was highlighted by the launch of VMware’s network virtualization platform, NSX. During his keynote, CEO Pat Gelsinger discussed how the network was the next area of IT to be transformed by virtualization. While I think Gelsinger is right and virtualization will have significant impact on networking, I think it’s not a fait accompli that VMware is the game-changing vendor. First, I thought the reaction to NSX was somewhat muted at the show compared to the media coverage. Part of the issue is that VMware has been talking about this product since it bought Nicira, so many might not have considered it news. The second issue is that most of the audience was made up of server managers, people who really don’t have much interest in or knowledge about networking. In fact, when, during the opening keynote, when Gelsinger was au pining about the joining of network and compute technology, Twitter was lit up with comments like “I can’t even get my network and server teams to talk to one another.” So this raises two questions: Are enterprises set up correctly to take advantage of NSX? And if not, will network managers embrace NSX or will they prefer using technology from a network vendor?

This is the first week back after the Labor Day weekend. Most of us just spent an extended weekend with friends and/or family quietly enjoying the last week of summer. Not so for the management teams at Microsoft and Nokia. Just short of midnight on the night of Labor Day, Microsoft announced its intent to acquire the mobile phone assets of Nokia.

For $7.2 billion, Microsoft will purchase all of Nokia’s devices, services business and license Nokia patents and mapping services. This deal had been rumored for quite some time now, as earlier this year speculation was raised that Microsoft had made a bid to purchase Nokia.

The acquisition is also a blow to Canada-based BlackBerry, as there had been some speculation that the two companies would find a way to work together, with Microsoft possibly acquiring all of BlackBerry. Now BlackBerry seems like the lone small player in a market of giants.

During last week’s VMworld event, traffic visibility leader Gigamon debuted what it is calling “Visibility as a Service,” or VaaS. Network visibility was a big theme at VMworld this year as VMware launched its NSX network virtualization product.

During his keynote, VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger stated that the network is the next IT domain to be impacted by virtualization and, in fact, it’s the limitations of the network that hold organizations back from being able to migrate to a software defined data center (SDDC) or IT-as-a-service.

This sounds great during a keynote, but, practically speaking, virtualizing the network has its risks and complications. I’ve heard many people use the benefits of server virtualization to describe how the network can be transformed and what the impact will be. While I don’t fully agree with this analogy, I do believe that some of the risks are similar. While many companies enjoy the fruits of virtualization today, remember that this technology went through some significant growing pains to get to this point.

For this to pay off, two things have to happen: Microsoft must create something game changing, and Apple and Android must somehow miss that thing.

Let’s roll the clock back just a couple of weeks to August 23: The news coming out of Redmond was that Steve Ballmer would be stepping down as the CEO of Microsoft as soon as a replacement could be found. One of the candidates that I thought made sense was Nokia CEO Stephen Elop, who was hired away from Microsoft in 2010.

Well, that possibility just got a bit stronger as Mr. Elop and 32,000 other Nokia employees will become part of the Redmond machine as Microsoft shells out a cool $7.2 billion for “substantially all” of Nokia’s devices and services business and licenses Nokia’s patents and mapping services. The announcement puts to bed the speculation raised in June by the Wall Street Journal that Microsoft had made an offer to Nokia that never happened because the two parties couldn’t agree on a price. I guess the parties finally agreed.

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