Archive for September 2014

Cisco has significantly expanded its partner ecosystem, added new offerings and put some money up to help with the adoption of the services.

If you’re a regular reader of my blogs, you’ll know I’m a huge fan of 80s music. One of my favorite bands of that era was Split Enz, who performed a song called “One Step Ahead”. While the song was written in the 80s, it was very forward looking, as the song was about keeping ahead in the cloud race. In fact, if you listen carefully, there’s an alternate track that goes something like:

“One step ahead of you Stay in motion, keep an open platform Cloud is a race won by a multitude Your service, my fabric”

To say cloud is hot is as gross an understatement as saying that Bears QB Jay Cutler is overpaid. The red hot cloud market has created a race, as every major IT vendor, systems integrator, network operator and cloud pure-play has been bolstering their cloud services and looking to get a leg up on the competition.

At Brocade’s annual investor conference in New York City, CEO Lloyd Carney and the rest of the executives did a nice job of highlighting the opportunities for the company moving forward.

This week, Brocade held its annual investor conference in New York City. New York is the obvious choice for investor events as it is filled with banks, hedge funds, mutual funds, and other financial firms. New York is also home to Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter, who I feel is one of the most overrated players in baseball history.

However, I’ve felt for a while that Brocade is one of the most underrated network vendors in the industry today – the anti-Jeter of networking. At the event, CEO Lloyd Carney and the rest of the executives did a nice job of highlighting the opportunities for the company moving forward. While the company does have its critics, it’s obviously been doing something right as the stock has gone up about 40% in the past year.

At the event, the company highlighted the following opportunities for its continued momentum.

This week, a startup called Saisei unveiled what it calls the first product in a market known as Network Performance Enforcement.

If you read my stuff regularly, you’ll know I’m a big fan of 80s music. Back in 1983, Paul McCartney and Michael Jackson did a duet called “Say Say Say” with great lyrics, like:

“Say, Say, Say, what you want,

But don’t play games with the hybrid WAN.

Take, take, take the time you need,

But make the apps run as best they can”

The theme of the song is that running the WAN is hard and creating a smooth running WAN where users aren’t griping about performance is even harder. The tasks becomes even more difficult as businesses transition to the hybrid WAN. This challenge was actually one of the reasons I wrote this post earlier this month.

The release of the Acme Packet 1100 opens the addressable market for Oracle to play small ball and go after a group of customers and locations that it could not have before.

The term “small ball” is used in baseball to describe a team that wins by doing lots of little things well. Historically, teams wait for the big inning or look for the one big swing that wins them the game. Small ball can be just as effective, though, for those that have the strategy and patience to execute. (If you’re from overseas and you’re not familiar with baseball, just know it’s a way more entertaining version of cricket with no tea served in the middle.)

In the UC space, Oracle, via its Acme Packet acquisition, has been a company that relied on swinging for the fences to grow its business. The company makes session border controllers and management tools for large enterprises and service providers. Because of this, Oracle tends to have larger deals, meaning the company typically plays long ball.

Next week is Oracle OpenWorld, and the big news is that Larry Ellison is stepping down as CEO and moving into more of an engineering role. However, there will be lots of other news from the show, including Oracle announcing the release of Acme Packet 1100 – an enterprise session border controller (E-SBC) focused on small to mid-size businesses as well as branch offices of larger organizations. The release of the 1100 opens the addressable market for Oracle to play small ball and go after a group of customers and locations that it could not have before.

Cisco’s latest acquisition, Memoir Systems, addresses the network gap challenge.

There’s nothing worse than having memory problems. Remember Ten Second Tom in 50 First Dates? He had a terrible quality of life because of his memory issues. Juxtapose this with the awesome life of Sheldon Cooper from Big Bang Theory, who has an eidetic memory. He’s got a great job, good friends, and can remember all kinds of fun facts about the U.S. Interstate System.

The same can be said for network infrastructure. Much of the focus on network infrastructure tends to be on things like port density, backplane speeds, and other transport-related things. This makes sense given that’s the role of a networking product. However, much of what a network device does is held in memory. Slow memory can cause significant performance problems in the network. No matter how much horsepower the rest of the box itself has, memory issues will cause performance problems.

The problem is continuing to get worse as well. Network speeds have been increasing exponentially. We went from 10 MB to 100, to 1 Gig then 10 Gig, and now 100 Gig is on the horizon. There are a couple intermediate steps around 25 Gig and 40 Gig, but these are just steps along the path to 100. Pretty soon we’ll be talking about 400 Gig- or TB-speed networking devices.

To help its customers implement a private cloud, Cisco this week announced the acquisition of Metacloud, a company that literally offers OpenStack-based private clouds “as a service” to simplify deployments.

Earlier this year, Cisco announced its strategy to build a world of interconnected clouds. The strategy, called Intercloud, was based on the concept that the compute industry would transition to a number of interconnected public and private clouds where information, data, and workloads could migrate from one cloud to another, securely, and automatically. A grandiose vision, to say the least but to date Cisco has had a number of its service provider and systems integrator partners buy off on the vision of Intercloud.

Intercloud is about more than just public clouds being connected. Private clouds play a significant role in Cisco’s vision, perhaps even more so than public. In a recent ZK Research survey, I polled the respondent base to see what the plans were for public, private, and hybrid clouds. To no surprise, hybrid cloud had the largest share of the pie, with 61%, followed by private only (20%) and public only (19%). This means that 81% of organizations will be building a private cloud, certainly a significant chunk of the market. Also, the majority of companies responding to public only were smaller organizations, meaning almost all mid- to large-size enterprises will be leveraging a private cloud.

This week, Brocade acquired Vistapointe, a move that will certainly help its position with mobile network operators.

Brocade has been one of the early movers and most aggressive vendors when it comes to network functions virtualization (NFV). Brocade jumped into NFV with both feet when it acquired Vyatta, a company that gave Brocade a broad set of virtual network services including a high-performance router, a stateful firewall, VPN functions, and a layer 4-7 application delivery controller. Brocade has the most comprehensive portfolio of NFV services of any network vendor, and the company has been pushing the message hard, particularly into telecom providers.

This week, Brocade acquired Vistapointe, a move that will certainly help its position with mobile network operators. Vistapointe provides mobile operators with network and subscriber analytics that are geared toward mobile infrastructure, network protocols, and mobile subscriber information. Vistapointe complements the NFV-based solutions that have become increasingly popular with mobile operators and services providers, as NFV brings a high degree of agility and automation to network services. The ability to run network services as a virtual workload on an x86 server enables the service provider to create, tear down, and migrate a service easily with no truck rolls or manual intervention, and has become one of the pillars on the path towards a software defined network. Now Brocade can offer NFV-based analytics tools in addition to network services.

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