Archive for March 2015

Technology is already transforming industries faster than ever before. But many companies still need services that help them embrace it.

The digitization of information is impacting businesses faster than ever before. It seems every week a new company pops up andĀ disrupts the status quo. Think of how fast Uber has disrupted the taxicab industry or how rapidly Airbnb is reshaping hospitality. Another good example is how Square has enabled point of sale to be offered on low-cost mobile devices instead of having to pay thousands of dollars for proprietary systems with long installation times.

Business disruption used to take decades to happen. Consider how Walmart changed the face of retail over a 20-year period. This was considered fast at the time, but now think of how the companies I mentioned above seemingly changed their industry in just a few years. How is this possible? Well, businesses like Square, Airbnb, and Uber were born in the digital era, where agility is the norm. A traditional retailer using legacy systems can take months or even years to change direction.

Targeting the complexity of SDN deployments, VCE recently announced upgrades to its VxBlock systems.

Software and virtualization continues to evolve the data center faster than ever before. As in the case with everything in life, there’s never a free lunch, and the price for this rapid evolution has been increased complexity. Historically, data center infrastructure was deployed in nice, neat silos where every application had its own servers, storage, and network resources. The obvious downside of this type of deployment model is poor resource utilization. Now we innovate in software and make everything virtual to maximize utilization, but we also drive up complexity.

An argument can be made that no company has been more successful at simplifying this complexity than VCE, particularly for multi-vendor environments. Late last year, VCE was rolled into EMC’s federation of companies to give it a single owner and enable it to roll out new products that address a broader set of needs than just its flagship product, VBlock.

As in “The Force,” darkness lurks within UCaaS offerings.

In Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back, Han Solo visits his old friend Lando Calrissian in the Cloud City above the planet Bespin. At first, the city seems like paradise — a tremendously profitable one — for the humans and Ugnaughts residing in the clouds. However, life there has its challenges, like keeping Darth Vader of the Galactic Empire out. For Lando, life in the clouds is a careful balancing act of pros and cons.

For IT managers, the shift to cloud-based UC poses what I’ll call a Calrissian-like challenge. As is the case within “The Force,” a hidden dark side lurks behind each perceived benefit of adopting the cloud. IT managers need to be aware of this dichotomy. I’ll explain more in the following five examples.

Both Aruba Networks CEO Dominick Orr and HP CEO Meg Whitman insist that nothing is going to change for Aruba’s partners and customers.

Last Monday, HP made a big splash when it announced a definitive agreement to acquire Aruba Networks. Coincidentally, that Monday was the same day that Aruba’s annual customer and partner conference, Atmosphere, kicked off in Las Vegas.

Although Aruba had some interesting announcements at the show, such as its new branch office product, most of the buzz at the show was about what HP’s takeover meant to Aruba’s channel partners and customers. As I pointed out in my previous post, HP’s track record has been underwhelming when it comes to acquisitions, so anyone associated with Aruba was well-justified in their concern.

Making it easier to identify a problem that may not even involve the network, Avi Networks’ analytics let network engineers be “innocent until proven guilty.”

In late 2014, Avi Networks came out of stealth mode with a product aimed at disrupting the application delivery controlled (ADC) market. Network World’s Jon Gold did an excellent job covering the launch and the way Avi is attempting to differentiate itself, so I won’t rehash what he has already covered.

In the right environment, the value proposition of what Avi is doing should be obvious to anyone covering the software defined networking (SDN) or network functions virtualization (NFV) market. Avi brings a high level of agility to the ADC, enabling customers to deploy ADC resources anywhere they need to in the exact quantity required. The pay-as-you-grow model means organizations are no longer required to overpay for resources they won’t need 90% of the time. Instead, they can provision for normal utilization and then purchase more capacity when the workloads require it.

With a solution aimed at small businesses but which could apply to larger organizations, Meru Networks is turning to the cloud for plug-and-play Wi-Fi.

In the application world, the cloud has been all the rage. It’s hard to find any application today that’s not offered as a cloud service. The cloud has also had a significant impact on infrastructure and more and more customers are buying compute services from the likes of Amazon and Google.

Join me at Enterprise Connect 2015 in Orlando for guidance on selecting a systems integrator for your unified communications project.

As the complexity of unified communications continues to grow, selecting a systems integrator for UC takes on increasing importance, particularly for large enterprises.

A decade or so ago, UC was challenging but not overly complex as the architecture mirrored a traditional PBX. You had a phone, an Ethernet cable, and an IP-PBX. The challenge came in running voice on the data network. This certainly caused some issues, but enterprises very quickly developed best practices and for the most part turned running converged voice and data networks into a nonissue.

UC has evolved significantly over the past 10 years, though, and the complexity level has shot up faster than Tiger Woods’ golf game has fallen apart. UC now involves the use of physical and virtual servers, softphones, Wi-Fi clients, cellular clients, video services, recording capabilities, multiple vendors, cloud-based resources, and application integration. After deployment come migration issues such as dial plan updates, user training, voice mail porting, and so on.

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